A step-by-step online resource for anyone who wants to master LEGO Robotics (for the FIRST LEGO League, or just in general). Start building and programming awesome robots that do exactly what YOU want them to! Created by a professional robotics teacher and two-time FIRST LEGO League world champion.
Learn the secrets to building robots that drive straight and operate reliably. With proven strategies from a world champion, you'll be building killer robots in no time!
Learn by watching AND by doing. Follow along as Michael designs, builds, programs, tests, and troubleshoots his robots, explaining his thought process as he goes. Learn to think like the master... understand the WHY, not just the HOW.
Quickly create programs that accomplish FLL missions reliably and efficiently. Michael's streamlined demos and walkthroughs teach you everything you need to know.
This is the biggest headline on the whole webpage, because testing is HANDS DOWN the most important skill students need to learn in order to master the art and science of LEGO Robotics. If you haven't yet established a method for effectively and efficiently testing your robot missions, you won't be able to learn from your mistakes or conclusively validate your ideas. If you can't learn from your mistakes or validate your ideas, you're doomed to repeat those mistakes, lose confidence, and get frustrated.
Michael Vawter was lead programmer, builder, tester, and handler for the MindStorm Troopers FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team. They competed for four years, becoming the first team to win 1st place Robot Performance at the FLL World Festival two years in a row. Michael co-founded the Robot Academy and has taught thousands of students how to master LEGO robotics. He's been featured in Popular Science Magazine, was on TV with Bill Nye the Science Guy, and was inducted into the National Gallery for Young Inventors. He published peer-reviewed psychophysics research at Denison University in 2011 and went on to earn a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and innovation.
Michael has continued to contribute to the FLL community by serving as a judge and referee at the state and world level. He has also coached and mentored teams of his own (some of whom have won international titles of their own).
In his ongoing career as a robotics teacher, Michael helps students and teachers to analyze and solve technological problems more creatively by integrating their right-brain and left-brain capacities.
"These videos are genius. I've learned so much and this is my 6th year coaching." -Megan
[My son] has always been great with LEGO, but now he's starting to talk like a little inventor. I'm always hearing about tests and prototypes." -Crystal
"I manage the robotics program at [private elementary school]. This course is remarkably thorough and easy to follow. I no longer have to worry that the kids will know more than me!" -Ron
"I took a chance with this curriculum and I couldn't be happier with the result. We have a wide age range [at robotics club], so I was worried some of the lectures wouldn't land. It was great. Michael's explanations are straightforward but also very deep, so there's something for everyone. I was jealous that the kids got to build everything!" -Jeanette
Our 17k+ fans on FB have had some things to say as well: https://www.facebook.com/RobotAcademy1/
Each module contains a series of engaging video demonstrations and tutorials. Michael does not suggest specific strategies/ideas for solving 2020-2021 "FIRST® GAME CHANGERS" mission challenges. This is primarily for ethical reasons, as it's important that your students develop their own ideas for solving the FLL missions after learning from the methods and tools contained herein. The added benefit is that the curriculum is not tied to a specific challenge year and will be just as useful to you next year.
|Module 1||Key Concepts and Strategies|
|Best Practices for LEGO Implement Design|
|Winning Strategies (Navigation, Mission Prioritization, Etc.)|
|Best Practices for Chassis Design|
|Module 2||Mechanical Design and Testing|
|Mechanical Alignment: The Ultimate Success Strategy|
|Efficient and Effective: Testing Strategies|
|Module 3||Advanced Robot Base/Chassis Design and Construction|
|Drivetrain Design, Friction, "Free Wheels", and Optimal Weight Distribution|
|Module 4||Intro to EV3 Programming|
|Michael's Mission Programming Method|
|Basic EV3 Programming Overview and Orientation|
|Module 5||Intermediate EV3 Programming Techniques|
|Using Sensors Effectively|
|Using Math Blocks and Variable Blocks (with Data Wires)|
|Module 6||More Mechanical Design Concepts|
|Designing and Using Ratchet Mechanisms|
|Designing and Using a "One-Way Door"|
|Analysis/Dissection of World-Class Robots|
|Module 7||Expert-Level EV3 Programming Concepts and Techniques|
|Building "Smart Turn" Subroutines for Precision Navigation|
|Anticipating Program Failures and Building in "Fail Safe" Algorythms|
|Organizing your Programs and Streamlining your Process|
|Prepping for Tech Judging (advice from a World-Level Tech Judge)|
|Module 8||Tutorials in Response to Student Questions|
|Using Gyro Sensors, etc.|
|FREE BONUS||The Art and Science of Robot Handling|
|Michael’s “Zen Robot Handling” Method|
|Demonstrations and walkthroughs of successful robot handler pairs|
We're temporarily offering a free extra year of enrollment (two years instead of one) so that teams who sign up now can use the program next year as well! It has been so much fun working with you all. Good luck this season! I'll see you inside! -Michael