Classroom Resources: STEM Robotics Classroom Management & Resources


First Days of School

If STEM Robotics is a CTE (Career and Technical Education) class, then making this distinction with students gives a segue to establishing a classroom environment that is more consistent with the career world than other classes.

Since Robotics is a STEM class, the career environment presented here is that of a professional working in a high-tech company.

When a professional Scientist, Technologist, Engineer or Mathematician hires into a new company, the first thing they experience is an Orientation session which equips them to work within the company culture. Topics covered during Orientation usually include the company's Mission Statement, Goals and Values, Rules and Expectations, and security issues including creating a I.D. card for the new employeeSimilarly, at CTE STEM class may also establish its own classroom culture, reflecting that of the professional STEM career world. One such example is presented below.

Mission Statement
This resource: is an example of Mission Statement for a STEM Robotics class.

Goal and Values
This resource: is a Goal and Values PowerPoint file, intended both as a presentation and classroom poster.

Goal and Values_Student Self-Evaluation
This resource: provides a student self-evaluation for the STEM Robotics Classroom Goal and Values

Rule and Expectations
This resource: is a Goal and Values PowerPoint file, intended both as a presentation and classroom poster.

I.D. Cards
This resource: contains instructions and files for make photo I.D. cards for students.

This resource: provides an lower cost/maintenance alternative to I.D. Cards.

Job Application
This resource: is Job Application for a Robotics Engineer Level I which is intended as pre/post self-reflection piece.

Robotics Kit Contract
This resource: is a contract for students/parents covering the NXT Kit use and responsibilities.

Intial Survey
This resource: is a get-to-know-you exercise that ties higher-order thinking skills/classes to higher paying jobs.

Pre Assessment For Robotics Knowledge
This resource: This is a basic PPT for a preassessment of prior robotics knowledge

Classroom Procedures

This section contains best practices, tips, tricks, and other resources to help run a STEM Robotics classroom.  Registered Teacher_Users are encouraged to add their own successful ideas using the "Add Classroom Resource" Wizard at the top of the Navigation Tree (left-hand pane).

2:1 Student to Kit Ratio
This resource: provides the reasoning behind favoring a 2 students-per-kit ratio.

Kit Organization & Inventory
This resource: provides tips and strategies for keeping the NXT kits organized.

9797 Kit Part Pictures & Names
This resource: is a great 3 page summary of the 9797 Kit Parts by category with excellent Hi-Res images. Thanks to Kate Steward from Centralia SD, WA, for adding this to the After-School Resource section (and we highjacked it here too).

Team Effectiveness Evaluation
This resource: provides a quick student self-evaluation of their team dynamics.

This resource: is a technique for improving awareness of STEM outside the classroom.


Engineering Notebook Sample Handout
This resource: This is a handout of an example of how to format a table of contents and entry page for a student engineering notebook.

Robot Design Rubric
This resource: A rubric to evaluate student robot hardware and software design.

NXT Intro Student Workbook
This resource: is a workbook for students to follow through an introductory STEM Robotics 101 class. It incorporates content leading to the Sumo Bot Challenge form the STEM Robotics 101 Invitational. The original Publisher file as well as a pdf version are attached.

After-School Robotics Club Resources

This section contains resouces unique to teaching STEM Robotics 101 in an after-school club environment.

After School Start Up Costs
This resource: This page provides general budgetary costs for an after school robotics program

Small Grant Opportunities for Teachers
This resource: This is a very easy grant to get if you are a classroom teacher. Take about 20 minutes to write a grant, then watch the money flow in. I have written three of these grants and have received full funding on all of them. You start out writing small grants, then you can increase your grant requests each time you write another.

Centralia Summer School 15 Day Plan
This resource: This outline represents the content overview for a 15 day summer robotics camp. Students attend summer school from 8:30-11:45 daily.

Kit Inventory Check Sheet
This resource: Students use this tool to inventory their kits

Part Pictures
This resource: Part Pictures and Names

Gear Train Ratio Video
This resource: This video shows the math involved in figuring out gear train and compound gearing ratios

Information on NXT
This resource: Carnegie Mellon website resources

Gear Basics
This resource: This video offers explicit information on the relationship of gears

Lego Worm Gears
This resource: Lift arm use of a worm gear

NXT Robotic Arm
This resource: This video demonstrates the function of a robotic arm

Tips & Tricks: Software

This section contains tips, tricks, undocumented (or poorly documented) features, troubleshooting/debugging techniques, workarounds,  etc. for the NXT-G programming software.

Debugging Tips
This resource: is a list of Hardware Debugging Tech Tips come from John Heffernan (Williamsburg Elementary Schools, Williamsburg, MA):

Can't Save My Blocks or Programs Fix
This resource: is a response from LEGO Education Support to an occasional problem where NXT-G will give an error when you try to save a My Block or program file. 

Final NXT-G version with "Missing File" Patch
This resource: is a link to the LEGO page that contains the final version of the NXT-G software. This is version 2.1f6, which includes the patch to 2.1 for the "1003 Missing File" error. Note, the link is labelled 2.0, but it actually downloads and installs as 2.1f6. Both PC and Mac links are provided on this page.

Tips & Tricks: Hardware

This section contains tips, tricks, undocumented (or poorly documented) features, troubleshooting/debugging techniques, workarounds,  etc. for the NXT hardware.

NXT Kit Comparison
This resource: 
is a web site which provides a nice comparison and inventory of the various NXT kits available.

General NXT Troubleshooting Tips
This resource:  is a list of Hardware Debugging Tech Tips  from John Heffernan (Williamsburg Elementary Schools, Williamsburg, MA):

Labels for Spare Parts Container
This resource: is a pair of Word files containing images for each of the components from the NXT Education Base and Resources kits (formatted for Avery Labels) for the purpose of labeling spare parts containers.

9797 Individual Kit Inventory
This resource: two inventory sheets for the 9797 kit.

9797 Inventory Pictures - matches kit inventory
This resource: These are pictures and names for inventorying the 9797 kit.

9797 Class Inventory List
This resource: Correlates with Individual Kit Inventory list - total for multiple kits

Course Level Resources

CTE Middle School Framework

This framework incorporates the new Washington State CTE Framework Template and incorporates the Common Core Standards for Math and English Language Arts, Next Generation Science Standards and an aligment of FIRST LEGO League to the 21st Century Skills.

CTE High School Framework

This framework incorporates the new (2013) Washington State CTE Framework Template and incorporates the Common Core Standards for Math and English Language Arts.  Units 1 through 13 of this 3 year course are based on STEM Robotics 101.

Instructional Resources

This section describes various NXT resources used/linked throughout this curriculum or presented as alternative content sources.

FIRST LEGO League Standards Alignment
This resource: is an alignment of FIRST LEGO League with Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards and 21st Century Skills for 4th grade, 5th grade and 6-8 grades as well as the "Transforming Teaching: FIRST LEGO League as a Classroom Resource for 21st Century Learning".