• Introduction to Robotics

    The Introduction to Programming EV3 Curriculum is designed to teach core computer programming logic and reasoning skills using a robotics engineering context. It contains a sequence of  projects (plus capstone challenges) organized around key robotics and programming concepts.

    Each project comprises a self-contained instructional unit in the sequence, and provides students with:
    • An introduction to a real-world robot and the context in which it operates
    • A challenge that the robot faces
    • A LEGO-scale version of the problem for students to solve with their robots
    • Step-by-step guided video instruction that introduces key lesson concepts (e.g. Loops)  by building simple programs that progress toward the challenge task
    • Built-in questions that give students instant feedback on whether they understood each step correctly,  to aid in reflection and self-pacing
    • Semi-guided “Try It!” exploration activities that expose additional uses for and variants on each behavior
    • Semi-open-ended Mini-Challenges which ask students to use the skill they have just learned to solve a relevant small portion of the final challenge
    • The Unit Challenge based on the original robot’s problem, for students to solve in teams as an exercise and demonstration of their mastery of the concept
    • Additional Reflection Questions to assess the depth of students’ understandings while challenging them to apply their learning to a higher-order problem-solving and writing task.

    Why Robotic?

    Introduction to Programming provides a structured sequence of programming activities in real-world project-based contexts. The projects are designed to get students thinking about the patterns and structure of not just robotics, but also programming and problem-solving more generally.

    By the end of the curriculum, students should be better thinkers, not just coders.

    What are the Learning Objectives?

    • Basic concepts of programming
      • Commands
      • Sequences of commands
    • Intermediate concepts of programming
      • Program Flow Model
      • Simple (Wait For) Sensor behaviors
      • Decision-Making Structures
      • Loops
      • Switches
    • Engineering practices
      • Building solutions to real-world problems
      • Problem-solving strategies
      • Teamwork

    What are the Big Ideas taught in the Introduction to 



    Introduction to Programming uses robots, and covers robotics content, but ultimately seeks to give students experience and access to a much broader set of skills and perspectives called Computational Thinking.

    • Big Idea #1: Programming is Precise
      If you want a robot to do something, you need to communicate that idea with mathematical and logical precision, or it won’t quite be what you intended.
    • Big Idea #2: Sensors, Programs, and Actions
      Data from sensors gives a robot information about its environment. A program uses that data to make decisions, and the robot Acts on those decisions. Data underlies the core of the entire process.
    • Big Idea #3: Make Sense of Systems
      To understand the way something works, construct a mental “model” of it in your head that captures the important features and rules of the system. This helps you make sense of it, and also gives you a tool to “play out” (similar) new scenarios in your head to predict what would happen.
    • Big Idea #4: Break Down Problems and Build Up Solutions
      To solve a difficult problem, try breaking it down into smaller problems. Then, solve the smaller problems, building up toward a solution to the big problem.
    • Big Idea #5: Computational Thinking Applies Everywhere
    • These skills – mathematical and logical clarity, using data, systems thinking with mental models, and problem solving – are not just for robotics. They are key to solving many problems in the world.


    Unit Name Main Topics
    1. Moving Straight Motors, Sequences of Commands, Block Settings, Downloading and Running Programs, Move Steering Block
    2. Turning Turning, Types of Turns, Move Steering vs. Move Tank Block
    3. Move Until Touch Sensors, Wait For Block, Touch Sensor, Move Until Behaviors
    4. Move Until Near Ultrasonic Sensor, Thresholds
    5. Turn for Angle Gyro Sensor, Compensating for Sensor Error
    6. Move until Color Color Sensor
    7. Loops Loops, Patterns of Behavior
    8. Switches Switches, Conditional Reasoning
    9. Switch-Loops Obstacle Detection Behavior, Repeated Decisions Pattern
    10. Line Follower (Mini-Unit) Line Following (a Repeated Decisions Pattern Behavior)
    11. Final Challenges Cumulative Application of Skills and Knowledge