Introduction to NXT Robotics – Scinto + Boreiko

Name of Unit

Introduction to NXT Robotics


Jen Scinto and Ali Boreiko


Josiah Quincy School



Brief Description

This unit is designed to introduce students to the basic concepts of programming and expose them to some of the capabilities to NXT.




NXT, Robotics, introduction to robotics, introductory robotics, beginning robotics

Number of Weeks


Week 1

Introduction to Robotics and Programming: An short, energetic conversation about what a robot is followed by a number of human robot activities. For the final half of the class, create a set of rules for using NXT. Allow the kids to explore the kits and begin putting pieces together during some unstructured exploration time.

Week 2

Silly Walks Part I

Week 3

Silly Walks Part II — Those students that finish their project more quickly are encouraged to test their design. Our test was speed so we had the kids race their robots and change their design to make the robot faster.

Week 4

Introduction to Programming — Bring in a pre-made robot. As a class, code the robot to do something straightforward (e.g. go forward until it hears a clap then stop). Keep all students engaged by calling on all students, not just those that know the answers. When you have written the code, test the robot as a class. If it doesn’t work the first time, go back and troubleshoot as a class. Sometimes this is the most valuable part!

Week 5

Freeze Dance — Introduce the project. Students can adapt their Silly Walks Robots to be dancing robots. This reduces the amount of building time so students can focus on programming.

Week 6

Freeze Dance (cont.). Be sure to leave 10 minutes at the end for your dance part-ay!!!

Week 7

Perfect Puppy — Now with a solid programming base, the students are ready for a more creative challenge. Introduce the project. Be sure that, prior to receiving their work materials, they have a clearly written project proposal. Demand precision of language! This will help guide them in their first creative robotics project.

Week 8

Perfect Puppy (cont.) — Give the students the full class period to work. Address individual questions.

Week 9

Perfect Puppy (cont.) — Students should be finalizing their work and testing. If there is space in the classroom, let the students leave their robots out for next week so that they do not have to put anything back together at the beginning of next class.

Week 10

Presentations and Wrap-Up– Each group presents. Put guiding questions on the board.

1. What is your project? What does it do? Show us!

2. What part of your project are you most proud of?

3. What were any challenges that you

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