Instruction Guide: NXT Kit Overview


Have teams unpackage (if necessary) and organize trays as illustrated on kit cover placards 

  • Stress the need to keep organized to reduce building times (finding parts)  

The pdf file of the NXT kit placards contains a complete kit inventory on page 3. This can be printed out for students to use to verify the complete contents of their kit.

NXT Kit parts survey

This Parts Survey  is a resource form Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Academy (  Robotics Engineering Vol. 1 product (

Below are some points to emphasize as you walk students through the Parts Survey:

Electronics (mostly located in lower tray) NXT brick

  • Ports
    • Inputs (4) for sensors
    • Outputs (3) for motors or lights 
    • USB (1) for computer downloads
  • Buttons
  • Screen 

Battery (rechargeable & cover for AA’s) Motors

  • Students can manipulate orange hub 
  • Insert any axle and attach any wheel to demonstrate motion


  • Students can speculate on functions
  • Light
    • notice LED light emitter and detector 
  • Sound
    • notice foam microphone cover
  • Touch
    • notice axle connection to extend sensor reach 
  • Ultrasound
    • notice emitter and receiver


  • Students can attach to brick/motors/sensors
  • USB cable for downloading 
  • Connectors cable for sensors/motors (different lengths)
  • Lego adaptor cable for lights (and old style sensors)

Lights (in upper tray)

  • Connect to output port with adaptor cable

Specialty Parts

  • Balls
    • Used for some challenges
  • Lego dude
    • Used for some challenges (students can assemble)

Wheels, Gears and Axles

  • Axles
    • Students can attach to other elements
    • Lengths measured in “beam holes”
    • Structural and Functional uses
  • Bushings
    • Student can slide on to any axle
    • Attach gear to medium length axle and insert in any beam 
    • Students can use bushing on opposite side of beam to keep gear in place. 
  • Wheels and hubs
    • Students can assemble all three types
  • Gears
    • Students can speculate on different uses

Structural Components

  • Beams & Studded Beams
    • Students can compare lengths
    • Notice different types of small 2 stud beams
      • Axles attach rigidly to one type (student can attach) 
      • Axles pass and rotate freely through another type
  •  Angled Beams
    • Notice some have axle connections at ends
  • Studded Bricks
    • Colored bricks fit over lights as colored lens (students can attach)
  • Plates 
  • Studded Plates
    • 1/3 thickness of bricks
  • Curved Beam plates
    • ½ thickness of beams


  • Pegs
    • Short and long friction pegs
    • Axle/pegs; friction and non-friction
      • Students can test difference by building two “propellers” with friction and non-friction pegs 
  • Joints
    • Axle and pegs fittings
      • Students can attach pegs and axles to explore different configurations (or wait until Part Exploration, next)
  • Peg-Joints
    • Students can assemble structures using these with beams and axles (or wait until Part Exploration, next)