Coding Robots Curriculum

Coding Robots

Introduce students to the concepts of Robots and Code with CoderZ, an online learning environment for programming real and virtual robots.

The Robotics & Coding STEM Curriculum brings your students up to speed with code and robotics in no time. This 45 hour program will teach your students to solve STEM problems through code, using math and engineering to overcome challenges. CoderZ uses engaging simulation so students will have immediate life-like feedback and can work from any computer, even from home, making sure all students get to
code their robot even when time and resources are limited.

>> Download curriculum outline

Use visual (Blockly) or text editors and test your code with simulation
Log into CoderZ anywhere, anytime to continue learning
Developing the pathways to STEM
Promote 21st century skills like computational thinking and problem solving
CSTA and NGSS aligned
PBL approach
Flipped classroom ready

Course outline and learning objectives

What Are Robots?

Week 1

Learn what makes up a robot and how they are used to solve problems in industry, medicine and even at home. In the first week, students write simple computer programs and run simulations.
Students become comfortable with logging onto CoderZ, writing simple computer code and running their simulations. Students will learn to analyze and debug programs.

Computer Science Skills:

  • Fixing bugs
  • Adjusting data parameters
  • Good coding features: reliability, repeatability, efficiency, readability, documentation, communication
  • Documentation and adding of comments
  • Blockly vs Java Code
  • Copy and pasting snippets of code
  • Making calculations
  • Optimizing code for time, efficiency, simplicity
  • Troubleshooting

STEM Skills:

  • Robots are problem solvers
  • Sensors and environmental feedback
  • Metric units and conversions (milliseconds to seconds)
  • Trial and error
  • Geometry of circles – radius, circumference, diameter
  •  Making calculations

CoderZ Techniques:

  • The virtual robot
  • Running simulations
  • Panning and zooming in the simulation
  • Trail and grid in the simulation
  • Different types of blocks: motor blocks, data blocks, wait for time blocks
    Project workspace
  • Block library and categories
  • Configuration pane and the different types of sensors
  • Head’s Up Display (HUD): ultrasonic, gyro, and encoder values
  • Using the encoders to navigate

Learning computer science with virtual roots

Driving Lesson

Week 2

Driving a robot is no simple task. We will learn how to create and control the movement of robots by controlling its motors through basic code. Students will vary the power, steering, and duration parameters to control the robot’s motion. Students will learn to use pseudocode to plan their computer programs. They will use repeat loops and sensor feedback to control the robot’s motion

Computer Science Skills:

  • Optimizing code for time, efficiency, simplicity
  • Troubleshooting
  • Iteration
  • Documentation
  • Navigation with Dead Reckoning
  • Pseudocode
  • Variables
  • Loops and indices
  • Compare values

STEM Skills:

  • Symmetry
  • Breaking complex missions into smaller tasks
  • Angles: acute, obtuse, and 90 degrees
  • Multiplication
  • Using data tables to analyze results
  • Analyzing error propagation

CoderZ Techniques:

  • Adjusting Motor Block parameters
  • Using the Head’s Up Display

Kids are having fun and learn coding


Week 3

Use geometry, math, encoders and loops to see how you can accurately navigate your robot and bring it home.
Students use the compare values block to control the motion of the robot using feedback from the encoders. Geometry calculations, distance calculations and other math are used in exercises.

Computer Science Skills:

  • Using Loops
  • Using compare statements
  • Using a spreadsheet for calculations

STEM Skills:

  •  Using ratios
  • Circle geometry and the use of PI
  • How the rotary encoders work
  • Average values
  • Using order of operations to break complex arithmetic calculations into multiple steps
  • Using a spreadsheet to keep track of encoder values
  • Using a spreadsheet to make calculations
  • Area and perimeter of a rectangle

CoderZ Techniques:

  • Until and While loops
  • Encoder values
  • Print to console block
  • Comparing encoder values to ultrasonic and gyro values
  • Using nested math blocks to make calculations
  • Using the manual controls

Coding robots curriculum


Week 4

Driving the robot around is great. Sensing what’s around it and reacting to it is even better. We will learn about controlling distance and using touch and gyro sensors to avoid obstacles.
Week 4 will start by learning to use variables. Then use variables to record encoder values to make calculations about the environment.

Computer Science Skills:

  • Declaring, calling, and setting variables
  • Types of variables
  • Calculations and iterations with variables in loops
  • Control Flow Switches
  • Using indices

STEM Skills:

  • Developing equations
  • Learn about geometric shapes
  • The geometry and angles of a polygon
  • Interior and exterior angles of polygons
  • Absolute value

CoderZ Techniques:

  • Using variables
  • Doing math with variables
  • IF-DO switches
  • Absolute value blocks
  • Using the gyro sensor

Computer science for middle school


Week 5

Learn about ultrasonic and gyro sensors and take control of your robot. This week we will cover the simplest way to control the robot – a two-level controller. But two-level control can lead to errors due to robot inconsistencies. So the students will learn about three-level control and proportional control to overcome such errors.

Computer Science Skills:

  • Two-level controller
  • Proportional controller
  • Set-point
  • Gain function
  • Error functions
  • Boolean statements
  • Tuning a controller
  • Overpowered and underpowered controllers
  • Using indices

STEM Skills:

  • Proportional or linear equations
  • Using data tables
  • Converting fractions into decimals
  • Graphing linear functions
  • Slope and y-intercept of a linear graph

CoderZ Techniques:

  • Using floating point variables
  • Using nested math blocks
  • Using variables
  • Using IF Switches

Learning STEM with robotics

Visual Sensors

Week 6

You are now ready for variables, state machines, and three-state controls. With these, you can use light sensors to follow lines and much more. This week, students will learn to use the color sensor.
We can use the color sensor to identify visual features on the surface and use these features as a navigational aid.

Computer Science Skills:

  • Students will learn line tracking.
  • Students will learn about Boolean logic statements.
  • Students will use a switch with more than 2 cases or paths.

STEM Skills:

  • Students will learn about the color sensor and light detections.

CoderZ Techniques:

  • Students will learn to use the color sensor.
  • Students will use an IF-ELSE-ELSE statement.
  • Students will configure the robot for different sensors.

Coding robots

Advanced Control

Week 7

Overcome obstacles using advanced coding techniques and control best practices. Tweak and tune your code to perfection. This week, students will use a proportional line tracking algorithm. Students will also combine line tracking programming with
multiple sensor outputs to improve the performance of the robot.

Computer Science Skills:

  • Proportional controllers
  • Setpoint
  • Gain
  • Tuning a controller
  • Using variables
  • Optimizing code

CoderZ Techniques:

  • Using switches
  • Using loops

Learning coding with blockly

Advanced Sensing

Week 8

Search for objects using scan techniques and move them using a manipulator. The projects this week involve navigating mazes and scanning an area to find an object. We will learn about and use Boolean logic and Boolean operators. We will be using random number generators to assist in scanning algorithms. Students will compare various sensor inputs to find the best information.

Computer Science Skills:

  • Boolean statements: True and false
  • Boolean operators: OR, AND
  • Boolean variables AND, NOT, and NAND
  • Weighted Boolean decisions
  • Random numbers
  • Swarm theory
  • Scanning
  • Searching for changes in values of a variable

STEM Skills:

  • Random numbers
  • Mean average
  • Median average
  • Probability
  • Series
  • Random walk

CoderZ Techniques:

  • If-Else-Else-Else switch blocks
  • Boolean operator blocks
  • Random in Range block
  • Using variables to record and compare


Week 9

Time to put those mad skills to the test. Face the challenge and put all you’ve learned into practice. This week students will solve several advanced missions. Students will be required to synthesize everything they have learned so far in the course. Compete
with your friends to see whose solution works best.

Computer Science Skills:

  • Java coding

STEM Skills:

  • Synthesizing knowledge

CoderZ Techniques:

  • Java Code Pane
  • Pen Feature

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