Learning Math and CS with Robotics

User's Guide for Getting Started with
Free Curriculum on Robotics, CS, and Math 

1. Overview of Free Curriculum

The RoboBlockly Free Curriculum includes a variety of activities open to all users for learning robotics, CS, math, sensor-based robotics, and physical computing:

PLEASE NOTE: Make sure that you are at www.roboblockly.com, not www.roboblockly.org. The ".org" version of RoboBlockly is an older version that is no longer being updated.


2. Tutorials and FAQ

It is recommended that users who are new to RoboBlockly take advantage of the interactive tutorials and instructional videos available via the Tutorials button at the upper left in the RoboBlockly interface (or at www.roboblockly.com/tutorials), as shown below. The RoboBlockly FAQ page also has useful information.

The tutorials page includes setup instructions if you are using hardware Linkbots and/or Arduino boards.


3. Lessons and Activities

RoboBlockly has many "lessons" that introduce key concepts in a “Lesson Description” section displayed at the top of the page. Lessons are indicated by their tan background in the list of activities. Lessons contain explanations and screenshots of key code blocks being introduced, plus example code to run. Many lessons also have a  Video  button at the top left that will play a video outlining and demonstrating the concept. Example:


The Lesson Description section can be closed up by clicking the “-” (minus sign) icon at the top right of the section. (The icon then becomes a “+” sign—clicking it opens the description back up.)

Activities, in contrast to lessons, are designed to give practice with RoboBlockly and programming. Activities have a problem statement displayed immediately above the Workspace area, giving you instructions on what to do. For example:

You can click the triangular “Play” button  to hear an audio playing of the problem statement. The light bulb icon  provides hints and tips for the activity. The  icon provides background information about the activity.

Most activities have code blocks that are pre-placed in the Workspace to help you get started on an activity:

You can then drag code blocks from one of the menus (located between the grid area and the Workspace) to the Workspace and click the blocks together. Clicking the Run button (below the grid area) will execute the code represented by the blocks, thereby moving the virtual robot (or hardware robot, if connected) and/or doing various computations, drawings, animations, or other activities.

Solutions to the activities are available to authorized instructors via the “Solution” and “Load” buttons, displayed to the right of the problem statement (but grayed out and inactive for other users). Teachers have the option of releasing solutions to students after homework assignments are submitted.


4. Creating an Account

All of the activities in the Free Curriculum are accessible without a RoboBlockly account. But if desired, users may register for a free account. The advantage of having an account is that it will allow you to save RoboBlockly files to your account (stored in the cloud), so that you will be able to access those files from any computer once you are logged in to your RoboBlockly account. (You can save RoboBlockly files without an account, but they will be saved only to your local computer.) In addition, users with accounts have access to a virtual piano that can be played with the mouse (or touchscreen or touchpad) and automatically generate “playNote” code blocks that can be saved, replayed, and edited for musical compositions.

To create a free account, go to www.roboblockly.com/sign_in.php, or click the “Sign In” tab at the upper left of the RoboBlockly interface:

You will then see a page with Sign In options:

Click either the “Create an Account”, “Sign In with Google”, “Sign In with Facebook”, or "Sign In with Microsoft" button near the bottom and it will take you through the account creation process. (If you choose the Google, Facebook, or Microsoft option, you may get a window asking you to enter your account information and/or sign in to it.)

Once you are signed in, you should see the main RoboBlockly page, with your name appearing at the top: