E&R Unit 3: LEGO Robots

Introduction to Programming and LEGO Robotics


This unit is all about learning to design, build, and program your own robot.  We will spend a few weeks focusing on what it takes to make a robot that does what you want.  To make this work, the process involves:

  • Designing a robot that will do what you want
  • Building the robot so it is reliable and can do what you want it to
  • Programming the robot to do what you need it to do!

As you start to learn about robots, the first thing is to learn how to program.  Once we’ve got that under control, we’ll build a very simple LEGO robot, learn how to program your robot, and then make your robot tackle complicated challenges.  As you work with our LEGO robots, you’ll go through three major steps:

  1. Learn to program by solving programming challenges with Jeroo
  2. Build a simple LEGO robot and program it to accomplish various tasks
  3. Customize your LEGO robot to tackle complex challenges by designing, building, and programming!

When you’re done, you’ll know what it takes to design, build, and program a robot to complete a challenge!


(20 pts)  About 3 days

The first thing we need to do is get introduced to writing programs.  You’ll start with a short tutorial video that will get you going in a program called “Jeroo” that will introduce you to the ideas of programming.  Once you have the basics down, you’ll get to solve some simple challenges to get used to how programming works!


(30 pts)  About 3 days

Once we understand the basics of programming we’ll turn to building robots.  You and a partner will follow some simple instructions to build a LEGO robot that can be used to accomplish some simple tasks.  You’ll then work together to program your robot to accomplish 5 different tasks.


(20 pts)  About 3 days

Finally, you and your partner will tackle one major challenge with your LEGO robot.  You’ll have time to build and rebuild your robot, reprogram, test, and evaluate your success.  We’ll end the unit with a short write-up in your engineering notebook about what it takes to build a good robot.

Part 1: Jeroo Programming

Learning to program with the Jeroo simulation

Check out this Jeroo reference!

 Download ALL Jeroo Files

To learn the basics of programming, we’ll start in a computer simulation called Jeroo.  This simulation lets you create and program your Jeroos to tell them what to do in the left panel.  When you think your program is complete, you can run it in the right panel that looks like a map.  Most of your time will be spent in the left panel, learning how to give Jeroos different commands.  As you learn the basics, keep in mind that pretty soon you’ll be telling your robot what to do!


Watch the “Getting Started in Jeroo” video and take some notes on how to start programming.

Complete at least 5 of the 10 Jeroo challenges by programming your Jeroo to do the challenge described!

 Have Mr. Benshoof watch and confirm each of your successful programs!

Getting started in Jeroo

Sample Jeroo Program 1

Sample Jeroo Program 2

What’s Due In Part 1: Jeroo Programming

  • Notes on programming Jeroo
  • At least 5 of 10 Jeroo challenges completed
  • Mr. Benshoof’s check-off on each of your 5 programs

Here’s what’s due in Part 1: Jeroo Programming

  1. Notes on programming for Jeroo in your engineering notebook
  2.  You need to have completed at least 5 of the 10 available Jeroo challenges 
  3.  Mr. Benshoof should have actually watched all of your programs run successfully

Part 2: Build Your Robot

Build and program a simple LEGO Robot

Check out this RobotC reference!

Now that we know some beginning things about programming, we’ll transfer that knowledge to simple LEGO Robots.  Start by getting an instruction booklet and building a basic LEGO robot following the guidelines.  Your robot should be simple, and should look mostly like the one in the instructions.  If you can’t find an exact piece from the instructions, you might need to substitute for a different piece.   Once your robot is built, get into RobotC for LEGO Mindstorms on the laptops and get programming!  You need to accomplish at least 3 of the 5 introductory challenges.


 Follow the instructions to build a very simple LEGO Robot

 Learn how to program your LEGO robot in RobotC, and take some notes in your engineering notebook

 Complete any 3 out of the 5 introductory challenges for your LEGO Robot

 Have Mr. Benshoof watch your successful runs of your LEGO Robot initial challenges

Building your LEGO Robot


LEGO Robot introductory challenges

What’s Due In Part 2: Build Your Robot

  • Build your LEGO Robot
  • Take notes on programming RobotC
  • Solve at least 3 of the 5 challenges
  • Have Mr. Benshoof approve your solutions

Here’s what’s due in Part 1: Wiring

  1. Build your simple LEGO Robot following the instruction guides
  2. Watch the RobotC video and take some notes on how to program LEGO Robots in RobotC
  3. Program your robot to accomplish at least 3 of the 5 available introductory LEGO Robot challenges
  4. Have Mr. Benshoof watch and approve each of your team’s 3 introductory challenge solutions

Part 3: LEGO Robot Super Challenge

Work with your team to solve a super challenge with your LEGO Robot

Super Challenge Options

For this last part, you get to flex your robotics muscles by designing and programming your LEGO Robot to solve a super challenge.  There are three challenges to choose from, and you and your partner will pick one to tackle and try to complete.  Once you and your team have chosen a super challenge, brainstorm different Robotic solutions, pick a solution you think will work, change your robot if needed, and write the program.  Keep testing and changing things until it works!  When it’s done, each team member will write a short report to document the process they went through.


 Review the challenges and pick the one you want to work on with your partner

 Use the Engineering Design Process to think through the problem and decide a solution you want to try

 Build, program, test, and fix your robot until you have solved the super challenge

 Have Mr. Benshoof approve your final working robot

 Write a 1-page summary of the process your team followed to accomplish your task, and how you solved your super challenge

Choose a Super Challenge

The EDP Returns!

Write your report

What’s Due In Part 3: LEGO Robots Super Challenge

  • Choose a Super Challenge and Make a Plan
  • Complete the Super Challenge
  • 1-Page Report
  • Mr. Benshoof’s Check-Off of your working robot

Here’s what’s due in Part 3: LEGO Robots Super Challenge

  1. Choose a Super Challenge to tackle, and make some plans and notes with your team in your engineering notebook
  2.  Work with your team to design and program your robot so that it can solve the Super Challenge.  
  3.  Write a 1-page report about the process you and your team took to complete the challenge
  4.  Have Mr. Benshoof check-off your robot when it completes the challenge successfully

Double Check: Unit Expectations

Check what you need to have completed by the unit deadline

The purpose of this unit is to get to build a first robot and think about how the design, build, and program all work together to make a robot successful.  By the end of the project you should be a little familiar with how the LEGO systems come together with the NXT module, how to program, and how to work with other people to accomplish tasks.  By the end of our unit timeline, you need to have the following items complete:

Engineering Notebook:

(Part 1) You should have some good notes in your engineering notebook about how to program in Jeroos

(Part 2) You should have some notes on working in RobotC and programming your LEGO Robot

(Part 3) You should have a page of notes on how you and your team solved your Super Challenge following the Engineering Design Process

Building & Making:

(Part 1) You should have completed at least 5 of the Jeroo challenges

(Part 2) You should have completed at least 3 of the LEGO Robotics Introductory Challenges

(Part 3) You should have completed the LEGO Robot Super Challenge that your team selected

Checkpoints & Quizzes:

 (Part 1) Mr. Benshoof should have seen and checked-off each of your 5 Jeroo challenges

(Part 2) Mr. Benshoof should have seen and checked-off each of your 3 LEGO Robot Introductory Challenges

 (Part 3) Mr. Benshoof should have seen and checked-off your successful LEGO Robot Super Challenge