Become a LEGO Robotics Mastermind

A companion curriculum for the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Robot Game. Created by a professional robotics teacher and former FLL world champion.



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Quickly Grasp
Key Concepts

Master the fundamentals by watching these engaging, hands-on demos. Review "best practices" and rapidly assimilate all the knowledge you need. You'll be building amazing robots in no time.

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Build Alongside
The Master

Learn the true art and science of LEGO robot creation by following our Head Instructor as he creates designs from scratch. This is a masterclass, not an instruction manual... learn to think like a master.

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Demystify
Programming

LEGO EV3 Programming can be frustrating, especially when data wires and math blocks come into play. These streamlined demos and walkthroughs teach you everything you need to know.

Learn From The Best

MeCakeSqMichael 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 ever to win 1st place Robot Performance at the FLL World Festival two years in a row (2005 and 2006). The team also won the 2nd place Chamipon’s Award (best overall) in 2005 and 3rd place Champion’s in 2006 at the World Festival. In those days, FIRST held only one world-level championship per year in Atlanta (the implication: Michael's robots truly were the best in the world for two years). Michael was invited to serve as a Tech Judge at the World Festival the very next year, and has continued to serve as a judge at international, national, and state championships ever since. He has also mentored and coached teams that have gone on to win state and international championships of their own. He works closely with the infamous Incredibots FLL Team from Ohio (winners of multiple international-level Champion’s Awards) - they’ve served as instructors at his LEGO Robot Camps in Columbus after graduating from the original MindStorm Troopers camp in 2006.

Michael co-founded the Robot Academy in 2006 and (with the help of some business-savvy friends) invented the LEGO Robotics Summer Camp. Robot Academy's summer camps and after-school programs have since graduated thousands of students in the Central Ohio area and seeded countless FLL teams.

Michael has been featured in Popular Science Magazine, Columbus CEO Magazine 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 masters in entrepreneurship and innovation.

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.


Learning Objectives

  • Employ real-world scientific testing methods in a fun and easy way (avoid the frustration and wasted time that results from ineffective testing)
  • Design robust and minimal robot bases/chassis that navigate accurately (avoid the frustration of “why is my robot doing something different every time I run it???”)
  • Learn how to build and customize some of the most useful and versatile LEGO mechanisms of all time (the ratchet, the one-way-door, the mechanical alignment wedge, the plow, the rake, etc.)
  • Learn to intelligently utilize opportunities to align on on mission models, walls, lines, etc. without overcomplicating
  • Understand real programming concepts (including debugging techniques) and how to use them in FLL
  • Overview of basic, intermediate, and advanced EV3 programming concepts
  • Much, much more!

Success Stories

"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

List of Modules/Units Included

Each unit contains multiple fast-paced instructional videos along with additional resources such as EV3 programming files, LEGO Digital Designer files and links to other material.

Please note that additional units will be added to each module as the season progresses (in response to student questions) and Module 8 will be added as well after topics are selected by a student vote.

Module 1 Key Concepts and Strategies
Unit 1 Kickoff Video / Masterclass Intro
Unit 2 Best Practices for LEGO Implement Design
Unit 3 Winning Strategies (Navigation, Mission Prioritization, Etc.)
Unit 4 Best Practices for Chassis Design
Unit 5 The Art of Robot Handling
Unit 6 Using LEGO Digital Designer to Share Ideas
Module 2 Mechanical Design and Testing
Unit 1 Q/A: Special LEGO Pieces and Where to Find Them
Unit 2 Mechanical Alignment: The Ultimate Success Strategy
Unit 3 Efficient and Effective Testing Strategies
Module 3 Advanced Robot Base/Chassis Design and Construction
Unit 1 Robot Chassis Design 201: Fun Demo Video
Unit 2 Robot Chassis Design 202: Drivetrain
Unit 3 Robot Chassis Design 203: Friction / "Free Wheels"
Unit 4 Robot Chassis Design 204: Optimal Weight Distribution
Module 4 Intro to EV3 Programming
Unit 1 Michael's Mission Programming Method
Unit 2 Basic EV3 Programming Overview and Orientation
Module 5 Intermediate EV3 Programming Techniques
Unit 1 Using Sensors Effectively
Unit 2 Using Math Blocks and Variable Blocks (with Data Wires)
Module 6 More Mechanical Design Concepts
Unit 1 Designing and Using Ratchet Mechanisms
Unit 2 Using Gears
Unit 3 Designing and Using a "One-Way Door"
Unit 4 Analysis/Dissection of a World-Class Robot
Module 7 Expert-Level EV3 Programming Concepts and Techniques
Unit 1 When to Use "Unregulated" Motor Blocks
Unit 2 Building "Smart Turn" Subroutines for Precision Navigation
Unit 3 Anticipating Program Failures and Building in "Fail Safe" Algorythms
Unit 4 Organizing your Programs and Streamlining your Process
Unit 5 Prepping for Tech Judging (advice from a World-Level Tech Judge)
Module 7 Tutorials in Response to Student Questions
Units 1-5 [To be created in Oct/Nov after students submit questions]

Choose the Package that Works Best for You

[KICKOFF BONUS: if you sign up by August 4 for one of these three packages, I'll include 2, 6, or 8 hours of one-on-one 'virtual robotics coaching' with me personally. I've packed the masterclass with all the information and insight you could possibly want, but I enjoy working with students in real-time via Skype/FaceTime as well to help them transcend specific issues. This offer really does end on August 4, though, as I have a limited amount of time to devote to virtual coaching. -Michael Vawter, Founder]
We can split your tuition across multiple credit cards or set up a payment plan if necessary. Please text, email or call us (and leave a message) if you'd like to discuss this (contact info below).
  • Modules 1-3
    Enrollment
  • Access Modules 1-3 (includes insight on every topic: programming, mechanical design, testing, and robot handling)
  • License for individual use, but feel free to share with your team members (only one person can be logged in at a time)
  • $345

    Enroll Instantly
  • Modules 1-8
    Enrollment
  • Full Access to Masterclass Modules 1-8 (includes in-depth build videos, advanced testing/debugging tips, and season-specific explainer videos in response to student questions)
  • License for individual use, but feel free to share with your team members (only one person can be logged in at a time)
  • $523

    Enroll Instantly
  • Accelerator
    Package
  • Full Access to Masterclass Modules 1-8 (includes in-depth build videos, advanced testing/debugging tips, and season-specific explainer videos in response to student questions)
  • Seperate accounts for up to 10 team members and 2 coaches ("flip the classroom" and assign videos as pre-meeting homework)
  • $845

    Enroll Instantly

Questions? Our Head Instructor is Standing By

Email Michael: michael@robot-academy.com
Call or Text Michael: (206) 395-4636




Seattle Office

200 East Campus View
Robot Academy, LLC
1916 Pike Pl. Ste 12 #20
Seattle, WA 98101
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