Learn electronics and coding at home, even if you don't have experience!
Level A is the first of four levels in the Intro to Robotics series. Intro to Robotics is designed to start at the very beginning and systematically teach electronics, programming, and then how to combine those skills to build a functional robot.
Along the way you will learn how to use common electrical components, read schematics, troubleshoot, and craft every line of computer code.
Level A Curriculum and Kit Contents
- 360 page curriculum (downloadable PDF) containing 18 step-by-step lessons
- Raspberry Pi 3 B x1
- 5 volt Power Supply with AC Adapter x1
- Raspberry Pi Case x1
- Micro SD Card with Adapter x1
- Ribbon Cable x1
- Wedge Assembly x1
- Battery Holder with Wires x1
- Breadboard x1
- LEDs x8
- RGB LED x2
- Resistors 220 Ohm x6
- Resistors 1,000 Ohm x6
- Resistors 10,000 Ohm x6
- Pushbutton Switch x3
- Jumper Wires x12
Level A Scope and Sequence
- Learn how electricity and electrical equipment work.
- Learn to properly use common electrical components that make up circuits including breadboards, batteries, LEDs, resistors, jumper wires, and switches.
- Build both series and parallel circuits and understand how to use Ohm's Law when designing circuits.
- Practice systematic troubleshooting techniques including half-splitting.
- Learn to read schematic drawings.
- Learn to use a Raspberry Pi (a mini computer) including connecting it to peripherals (keyboard, mouse, etc.) as well as downloading files and software updates.
- Learn to use several included software packages including Raspbian OS, Nano, and Thonny.
- Learn to to create basic Python programs including comments, merging strings, user input, mathematical functions, lists, if/else statements, and loops to control electrical circuits and create games.
- Learn to identify and correct errors in Python computer programs.
- Gain the skills to independently tackle projects found online.
After completing Level A, we recommend you continue the Intro to Robotics series:
Click here to view the Scope and Sequence for Level A
Click here to view a Level A Sample Lesson A-3
Click here to view a Level A Sample Lesson A-15
Click here to view the Level A Sample Lesson A-18 (Final Project)
Level A FAQ
Q. I don’t know anything about electronics or programming. How can I use this program to learn?
We specifically designed our lessons and kits to be used by people with no background in electronics, programming or robotics. With clear explanations, step-by-step instructions, a complete components kit included, and one-on-one support from our amazing team, we are confident you can successfully learn these skills at home.
Q. How many lessons are in Level A and how long does each lesson take?
A. There are 18 lessons and each lesson will take approximately 45-60 minutes to complete.
Q. What if I have a question or run into a problem?
A. We are thrilled to help! Contact us via email or live chat and we will help you get back on the right track.
Also, please head on over to Facebook and join the 42 Electronics User Group
. It's a great place for current or perspective users to ask questions, get project ideas, and connect with others using the Intro to Robotics program.
Q. What should I do after completing this course?
A. After completing Level A, you will have basic electrical and programming skills that can use to tackle beginner Raspberry Pi projects found online. Click here to see a sample of appropriate projects. We also recommend you move on to Level B to continue your robotics education:
Q. I’m only interested in learning basic electronics and programming skills, do I need to complete all four levels?
While each level builds on the previous level, we have designed this course so you can stop upon completion of any level and still have solid, complementary skills in working both with electrical components as well as the most common Python coding commands. While we do recommend you continue to work through successive levels, we recognize that won’t be desirable for everyone and some users may be content with the skills and exposure gained by completing only one, two, or three levels.
Q. Why does this program teach Python instead of a different programming language?
A. We teach Python for a couple of reasons:
- Python is currently the fastest growing computer language. Companies such as YouTube, Dropbox, Google, Quora, Instagram, Spotify, Reddit, and Yahoo Maps used Python to build their platforms. While programming languages tend to come and go over time, Python is well rooted and is likely to be a popular language for many years.
- Python is particularly well suited to beginners. The code is intuitive and easy to read. It also requires far fewer lines of code to accomplish tasks compared to other popular languages such as C++ and Java.
Q. Are the parts in the kit reusable?
A. Yes! The contents of the kit are fully reusable for more projects. Please note, the PDF file containing the lessons is copyrighted material and is not able to be resold or given away.
Q. How is the curriculum organized?
A. Here is an overview of the sections of the curriculum (click here to view the Table of Contents):
- Working with electrical components to build circuits (Lessons 1-8)
- Setting up the Raspberry Pi (Lessons 9)
- Writing computer programs in Python (Lessons 10-18)
- Controlling circuits you build with computer programs you write (Lessons 16-18)
Q. My kids want to learn too. Can this program be used for that?
A. Yes, many of our users use this program to work alongside their kids to learn these skills.
Q. Will we need additional equipment?
A. Yes, besides the curriculum and kit, there are a few things you will need but you likely already have these items on hand:
AA Batteries x2
Computer Monitor (or television provided it has HDMI inputs)
HDMI cable (likely currently attached to your computer monitor)
Keyboard and Mouse (use a wired keyboard and mouse if possible)
Internet access, wired or wireless (optional)
Please note, none of the equipment needs to be exclusive to the Raspberry Pi. You can easily hook up your desktop's computer monitor, keyboard, mouse, and internet access each time you do a lesson if resources need to be shared. Please note, a laptop will not work for this task.
For more information, check out this video where Julie walks you through the extra equipment requirements.
Q. How will I receive my order?
A. The PDF file containing the curriculum can be downloaded following purchase. The component kit will be mailed to you within several business days.
We do not offer printed copies of the curriculum for several reasons:
- When reviewing concepts, it is really helpful to be able to search the curriculum document for information on a skill you are working with.
- The technology you will be working with changes regularly and we typically update the curriculum every 2-3 months to assure you are working with the latest information. Sometimes the changes are significant (screen layout, menu options, procedures, etc.) It is advantageous for you to have access to this updated information via the electronic copy of the curriculum. We want you to keep moving forward with your lessons, not getting stuck and frustrated because a menu option changed.
- We want to save some trees and keep your cost down! Our program is lengthy and the book would not only be heavy to carry around, it's simply unnecessary to print it. All lessons can be read and completed with the file pulled up on a tablet, laptop or desktop.