INTRO TO ROBOTICS
The Intro to Robotics Program Teaches Electronics, Coding, and Robotics Using Open-and-Go Lessons and Kits
The Intro to Robotics course was designed to be used by people with no previous experience in electronics, programming, or robotics. Lessons start at the very beginning building foundational skills that increase in complexity over time.
You will first learn to use common electrical components to build circuits, use a Raspberry Pi, and write code in Python to control the circuits you build with the code you write line-by-line. You will then move on to more complex electrical components and advanced program while learning complementary skills such as reading electrical schematics, troubleshooting, and building an Apache web server. In the final level of the program, you will take all the electronics and programming skills you have learned to build a fully programmable mobile robot from scratch.
Our goal is for you to build strong base of electronics and programming skills that will enable you to go on in the future and tackle new projects learning new niche skills along the way.
The course was originally developed for high school students and is most commonly used by highschoolers and adults. Our program can also used by mature middle school students but parents should keep in mind that the reading comprehension skills and attention to detail required will likely mean a younger student will need assistance from a parent to work through the program successfully. When considering whether this program will be a good fit for a student, we recommend viewing the program scope and sequence as well as sample lessons by clicking here.
Homeschooling parents frequently choose to assign high school credit to their student upon completion of the Intro to Robotics program. While assignment of credit is always dependent on the homeschooling laws of your particular state (please consult them), we typically see parents assigning 0.5 credits for completion of Levels A and B or 1.0 credits for completion of Levels A, B, C, and D over the course of a school year.
The Intro to Robotics program is self-paced so you can work through lessons at your convenience. Each level of the program contains 18 lessons:
- Level A: 45-60 minutes per lesson
- Level B: 60-90 minutes per lesson
- Levels C and D: 90-120 minutes per lesson
Please note, these estimates assume a single motivated student working at their own pace. For classroom settings, we recommend planning on 2-3x the time to complete each lesson.
We recommend aiming to complete 1-3 lessons a week so a single level will take 6-18 weeks to complete.
Please note, the concepts taught in Levels B, C, and D are more complex than Level A. Many students will find slowing down lesson frequency and building in time for practice will help reinforce skills prior to moving to the next lesson.
Homeschooling parents using this program for a high school elective should plan on their student completing Levels A, B, C, and D over the course of a school year.
In addition to the curriculum and Levels A-D parts kits purchased with it, you will need:
- Computer Monitor (a television can also be used provided it has HDMI inputs, please note, a laptop computer will not work for this purpose)
- HDMI cable (likely attached to your computer monitor)
- AA Batteries x2 (these are used in Lessons A-1 to A-9 to power circuits prior to learning to use the Raspberry Pi)
- Keyboard and Mouse (please use a wired keyboard and mouse if possible. Wireless models do not work reliably with the Raspberry Pi. Visit the Level A Resource List for a list of inexpensive keyboard and mouse options)
- A Desktop Computer, Laptop, or Chromebook (must be connected to the home network via a wired or wireless connection; this can be the family’s regular computer as it will be used in networking lessons)
- Anti-Static Mat (highly recommended to prevent damage to more sensitive equipment such as the Raspberry Pi camera; click here to find one at a bargain price; this is particularly needed in Level C)
- AA Batteries x6 (these are used to power the robot in Level D; we recommend rechargeable batteries, click here to learn more)
- 9v Battery
- USB Drive (minimum 4 gb)
- Electrical Tape (used in Level D to build a track on the floor for the robot to follow; use black electrical tape if you have light colored flooring, use white electrical tape if you have dark colored flooring)
- Internet access (wired or wireless; optional but recommended for Level A; required for Levels B, C, and D to download libraries and modules)
- USB to SD Card Adapter (optional; Lesson D-1 activity shows students how to back up their SD card to their computer, click here to see links to adapters)
Please note, this list is for all four levels of the program. If you won't be using all four levels of the program, please see the individual product pages for a specific list of the extra equipment needed for that level.
The PDF files containing the curriculum can be downloaded following purchase. The component kits will be shipped to you within several business days.
We do not offer printed copies of the curriculum for several reasons:
- When reviewing concepts, students benefit greatly from being able to search the curriculum document for information about a skill they are working with.
- The technology you will be working with changes regularly and we typically update the curriculum every 2-3 months to assure students 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 their lessons, not getting stuck and frustrated because a menu option changed.
- We do not recommend printing the curriculum due to the frequent updates, but you are welcome to print a copy for personal use if desired.
Yes! With proper care the parts in the kit are reusable for future electronics and robotics projects. We also encourage other household members to work through the lessons as well.
Please note, the copyright for the PDF lesson files does not permit them to resold or given away under any circumstances.
If multiple family members are working through the program simultaneously, it may be helpful to purchase multiple component kits so each student has their own set but this is not required. Click here to purchase an additional component kit. Looking to use this program in a group setting, schools and co-ops click here for institutional ordering and pricing information.
If you decide you need to replace a part or want to have extras on hand, click here to purchase replacement parts.
We are thrilled to help! Contact us via email and we will help you get back on the right track. While we also provide support via phone, we strongly recommend using email as it's easier to send pictures or copy of your code back and forth--this can help us troubleshoot far more efficiently.
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 other families using the Intro to Robotics program.
All lessons are in written format with careful step-by-step instructions and high quality photos. We realize that it seems like video would be an easier way to learn these skills, however when you are learning to work with very detail oriented tasks such as the placement of tiny electrical components and writing lines of code (where every character matters!) it is actually far more useful to be following written step-by-step instructions and have high quality photos and diagrams to reference. You can see three full lessons from each level as samples here to evaluate if this format will work well for you prior to purchasing.
However, we do still have many people who are hoping for video lessons in the future and it is something our team is working on but we do not have a release date yet.
Yes! The Raspberry Pi operating system tends to change fairly regularly. Sometimes the changes are minor, such as moving a menu item, and sometimes the changes are major, such as process changes. Minor updates are posted to the curriculum resource page as soon as they are known and documentation is available (a link to the resource page can be found in the footer of this website). Major changes are incorporated into updates to the curriculum. We tend to release curriculum updates every few months. These updates are available to download via the curriculum download link you receive after placing your order.
Unfortunately, we don't offer the curriculum separately from the kits. We are 100% committed to troubleshooting any bumps students may face on their road to learning. Component connections can be configured differently or may not be compatible depending on the specific component or manufacturer, even though they may look almost identical. That makes it really difficult (and potentially impossible) for us to troubleshoot effectively. Our goal is for beginning students to learn these skills well and we can only ensure that if students are working with a standardized kit of parts.
The good news is that even if you have extra parts (and even an extra Raspberry Pi) on hand, it opens up the range of possibilities for projects long term. It's pretty rare to find someone who works with Raspberry Pi's as a hobby and only has one!
The PDF files 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 lessons for several reasons:
- When reviewing concepts, it is very beneficial to be able to search the curriculum document for information about 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 their lessons, not getting stuck and frustrated because a menu option changed.
- We are trying to save some trees! Our program is lengthy (400-700 pages per level) and the books 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.
- If you wish to print a full copy of the curriculum, we recommend The Homeschool Printing Company for their quality work and reasonable prices.
The Intro to Robotics program is used by a wide range of public schools, private schools, community colleges, tech centers, and co-ops. We offer classroom sets for this specific purpose (and have options for very small settings too). Click here to learn more.
If your order is damaged or defective, please let us know. We really want you to have the very best experience as you start your robotics journey. We are here to help!
What if you find our program isn't a good fit for your family? No problem. Please contact us within 30 days of receipt for information on how to return your kit. Please note:
- Once our system registers the download of the curriculum files, we are unable to issues refunds for the PDF curriculum. We encourage you to carefully review the extensive samples provided here to determine if this program is the right fit for you prior to purchasing.
- All components in the kit(s) must be in resellable condition (unused and in their original packaging) to qualify for a refund.
We are pleased to offer the option of Paypal Credit which provides six months special financing on purchases of $99 more. Paypal Credit is a revolving credit account built into your Paypal account and gives you the option of paying for purchases over time. It is subject to credit approval through Synchrony Bank.
To apply for Paypal Credit, please follow the instructions below. Please note, you must select Paypal as your payment option at checkout. Once you have been taken to Paypal's website, the option to apply for Paypal Credit will typically appear below your other payment options (credit card, bank account, etc.)