Instruction Guide: EV3 - The Computer

In this Lesson we have 2 Primary Instruction Resources:

  1. The EV3 Computer PPT
  2. The EV3 Test Program
  3. The Supplemental STEMcentric video called EV3 Introduction


This lesson builds on what was learned in the Introduction to Computers lesson that discussed  the parts of a computer. We will see how this relates to the EV3.  Students also get a early glimpse of the EV3 programming environment.

The Four Parts of the EV3 Computer (see EV3 Computer PPT : slide 1)

Slide 1:

Inputs– Sensors, Brick buttons, motor encoder

Outputs – Motors, Brick lights, Brick screen, Brick speaker

Processor – Brick processor

Storage –Brick memory chips – for firmware and software

Slide 2:

  • Revisit processor and memory chips inside brick
    • Flash memory chips storage the manufacturer’s firmware and user’s software
    • The NXT picture will be updated as soon as an EV3 picture is found.

Note: The inside of the Brick shows an NXT because no one wants to break a brick to get a picture. This slide will be updated when an EV3 picture becomes available.

Slide 3:

The EV3 Motors – Output or Input?

  • Answer: Both
    • Spinning motor is an output of the EV3 computer
    • Semiconductor encoders are an input to the EV3 computer
      • Students previously saw how the motor responds in Port View
      • Motor encoders can tell EV3 how many times the motor has been rotated


EV3 Computer Demo using the EV3 Test Program


  • Demonstrate the four part of the EV3 Computer
  • Emphasis is on Storage (students more readily grasp Input, Output, and Processor), specifically the Flash Memory Chip inside the EV3 Brick
  • Provide students their first glimpse of EV3-G programming software


  • Connect a motor to port  A
  • Connect a Touch Sensor to Port 1
  • Connect EV3 to computer with USB cable
  • Start EV3-G software on computer
  • Place EV3 and sensor under a Document Camera

Procedure 1 (Explore existing contents of Flash Memory)

  • Show student EV3-G software and explain that this is the environment they will be using for programming.
    • No need to explain icons or features at this time – this is just a teaser
  • In the lower right of the programming field, there should be a box that describes the user's EV3 Brick.

  • Notice how there is no Brick name and that EV3 is greyed out. This means that you are not connected to a Brick.
  • Now connect your Brick to the computer using a USB cable and  turn on the Brick

  • Notice that the Brick name is EV3 (which students can change) and that the EV3 in the upper right hand corner has gone from grey to red. This means that your Brick is connected to EV3-G
  • Name: the name can be changed from this window (EV3)
  • Battery: show the current voltage of the Brick’s battery (the 6 black blocks)
  • Connection Type: shows the brick is connected through the USB cable
  • Firmware : show version number of firmware stored in brick
  • Now click on the Data Storage button below the Wrench

  • Click on Applications to see a list of Applications. Do you recognize some of these applications?
  • Free Space: shows the amount of free space on the EV3 Flash Memory Chip
    • Note: EV3 memory is measured in MB (MegaBytes)
    • Ask student what kilo means (1,000 or 0.001 MegaBytes)
    • This view shows the contents of the EV3 Flash Memory Chip

Procedure 2 (Download a sample user program into the EV3 Flash Memory Storage)

  • Click on EV3_Test_Program to download the program to EV3-G
  • Using the down arrow in the lower right hand box, download the EV3_Test_Program to the Brick
  • Explain to students that this is an example of what their programs will look like in EV3-G
  • Ask students to guess what this program does, based on the icon blocks
    • Turn on motor
    • Wait for Touch Sensor to be pressed
    • Stop motor
    • Display something
    • Make a Sound
    • Wait to hear music from your Brick...letting you know that the Download has completed
      • In the lower right of the programming field, click on the Storage button, discussed earlier.
        • You Should see EV3_test_program listed under Projects
      • We successfully downloaded the sample program to the brick’s Flash Memory Storage

Procedure 3 (Run the sample program on the EV3 Brick/computer)

  • Switch to the Document Camera view of the EV3 brick, motor and touch sensor
  • Go to your Brick
    • You should see your program listed on the File Navigation Screen (2nd tab from the left)
    • Select the EV3_test_program
    • Use the down arrow to get to Program
    • Press the center button to run
  • When you run the program, the selected program gets copied from the Flash memory into the RAM and the EV3 processor will begin running the program:
    • Turn on motor – the motor will immediately start turning
    • Wait for Touch Sensor to be pressed – when you press the touch sensor,  the program will move on
    • Stop motor – the motor will immediately stop
    • Wait for 1 second – there will be a one second pause
    • Display something – the EV3 will display crazy eyes
    • Make a Sound – the EV3 will do a cheer


The Differentiate Instructional Material: Supplemental STEMcentric video called EV3 Introduction. This is an excellent resource and can be used to reinforce the topics covered in this lesson.