Instructors - Lesson 1


By the end of this lesson, students should each have a completed chassis with motors and and a power supply. Students should be able to connect their motors the the power rails to make the robot move forward.

LED Calculations

The rule of the thumb for an LED is to have a forward voltage of 2v and a forward current of 10mA. These exact values will differ between colours and manufacturers, but as a rule of thumb this should work. In any case, if you feel like the LED is not bright enough, you may decrease the resistor value (albeit with the trade off that the circuit will consume more power).

Resistor calculation
Resistor calculation

Pre session

Print three copies per table of lesson 1 of the 101 document. The page is printer-friendly! You use press CTRL + P (CMD + P on a Mac) to get a print prompt. From running the course we have found that printed copies of the online document are invaluable. We normally print at least one copy per 2 or 3 students.

For each table, prepare one copy of the breadboard circuit before the session. This gives students something to compare to and does not put at a disadvantage students who have no experience using a breadboard.

You should have 3 screwdrivers and 2 files on each table. The files come in handy due to the tolerance on acrylic thickness. Acryilc that is nominally 3mm can reach 3.5mm which may need to be filed down in some areas to fit together.

Score the back of each breadboard once at each end so students can peel off the two bits that will stick to the acrylic, but leave the majority of the bottom non-sticky.

Because the first lesson requires students to use a large amount of different components, provide each student with a small plastic bag with the parts they need for the session.

During Session

Then, have the table leaders and the students sit around the table and learn the names of the students, what they study etc. This allows students and table leader to be more comfortable on the table. After about 10 minutes, the course leader introduces everyone to the space (workshop/lab/etc), explains what will happen on each week of the course and any safety announcements (e.g. fire exits and alarms).

The course leader then allows each table one at a time to collect a chassis kit they would like to build from a separate central table of kits. Table leaders should now guide the group through assembling the chassis. The course leader floats around the tables, ensuring that everyone is on track and deals with chassis construction issues i.e. a broken piece, giving out robot wheels etc. In our experience, chassis assembly takes just over an hour.

Pause the class for a 10 minute snack break after an hour. We normally provide a selection of biscuits, soft drinks and tea. No food or drink at the table - that’s an accident waiting to happen!

After the break, students should still be assembling the chassis. The course leader should take each table one by one and describe the features of the power supply (resistor and capacitor values may change at your discretion). The course leader explains theory behind circuit design. Physical construction guidance and help is left to the table leaders.

Post Session

Tidy up and debrief.