LERO103-2: Lego, and not-so-Lego, Robots

Course Syllabus

Instructor Information

About me: Alex Milewski

I am a Movement Artist, Engineer and Educator based in Boulder. I started my obsession with Engineering at age 8 when I got my first Lego mindstorms set for Christmas. I never looked back, and ended up graduating CU Boulder with a degree in Mechanical Engineering 15 years later (2013). I founded a tech startup in Australia in 2012, and ran that for 5 years out of school. I am also a professional dancer (primarily Breakdancing) and have taught and performed around the world. In 2009, I discovered that my passion for Engineering and Legos was eclipsed by my Love for sharing wonder and excitement with kids through teaching. My Robotics classes are a direct manifestation of my Love for Engineering and teaching, and i'm so grateful for the opportunity to share my passions with students!

Contact info[1]

Class location: 3371 Hickok Pl. Boulder, 80301. **Please either park in the spot #8 (second from the end on the left) or in a "Visitor" spot: we cannot park in any other spot numbers without sad neighors.

Child safety and rules for everyone to be aware of

House Safety[2]

No secrets[3]

Body autonomy[4]

Safe touch[5]

Course Information

Course Description

  • This class is designed to serve as a continuation into the magical world of LEGO (and not so LEGO) Robotics. We will be using LEGO Mindstorms & Technic robotic parts alongside EV3 microcontrollers to bring our creations to life!


  • Ages 7+ and some Lego Technic and/or Mindstorms experience

  • Express interest in STEM

  • LERO 101 & 102 and/or specific class invitation

Course Materials

All class materials will be supplied, students are always welcome to bring a creation from home to show and tell!

Project based learning

The majority of this session is dedicated to a large group project. While we will do group work to complete the task as a team, it is imperative that every student get hands on experience with all aspects of a project: brainstorming, designing, building and coding, on their own.

Project: self-directed challenge

  • Students will have 4 weeks to design, build and program a Robotics project of their choice! This can be anything at all they want, but MUST be a robot (machine that responds to environmental stimulous).

Student Learning Outcomes & Objectives

Student Learning Objectives[6]

Course Objectives[7]

Class expectations[8]

Engineering Design Process

Course Outline/Schedule

Week 1: Brainstorm

Class/lecture day[9] (Intro)

Lab day[10] (Choose your project!)

Week 2: Ready, set, build!

Class/lecture day[11] Choose projects!

Lab day: Project work

Week 3: Final work week!!

Project build[12]Continue work on projects

Lab day: Project work

Week 4: Finish projects!

Class/lecture day [13]Last build day: projects should be ready to test/demo by end of class!!

Last lab: finalize projects, add advanced sensors if needed!

- May the Force be with you! -


Office Hours: Whenever

Telephone: 7205158455



Open Door Policy:

All inside doors will always be open during classes. My front door is always "open" as well, and all parents are encouraged to stop by (or stay) for class whenever possible!

Substances & guns:

There are no illegal substances of any sort in my home. Any legal & prescription substances are kept out of sight and not in "public" spaces. This is a gun-free home: there are no firearms or other dangerous weapons (beyond kitchen knives) here.


I will never ask students to keep secrets from eachother or parents.


All children have a right to physical autonomy and to feel comfortable. If they feel uncomfortable in their body, they are encouraged to honor that and I will always support them in that autnomy.


I will only initiate consensual, safe touch like high fives. If a student initiates a casual hug, I will reciprocate that...

I also ask students to limit rough-housing and maintain their body autonomy with eachother in class, and will support students if they seem uncomfortable with physical play from peers (and communicate with parents if this happens).

  • Further knowledge and iterative implementation of the Engineering Design Process

  • Intermediate understanding of how motors and gears work, including worm & rack gears

  • Ability to apply gear ratios: speed and torque tradeoffs

  • Understanding of and practical experience with:

    • Touch, Light, Ultrasonic & IR Sensors

    • Introductory programming concepts (if statements, loops, etc)

    • Electrical motors and basic dynamic mechanical systems

  • Understanding of bracing, structural integrity and building sturdy machines

  • Using sensors, motors, coding and a microcontroller, to allow a machine to respond to stimuli in its environment

  • Working over multipls days to solve a specific problem

  • Having fun

  • Sparking curiosity

  • Teamwork

  • Learning basic problem solving skills and the Engineering Design Process

  • Understanding what makes a robot a robot, vs just an electrical machine

  • Deeper understanding of building/prototyping machines with LEGO

  • Basic understanding of what programming is

  • Attend

  • Engage

  • Communicate

  • Work together

  • Ask constructive questions

  • Be respectful and kind to others


  • Welcome: Overview of the session and project specs (what is a robot?!)!

  • Get re-acquainted with “the lab”

  • Review the Engineering Design Process


    • Ground rules

    • Come up with 100 ideas

    • Narroe to top 4


Decide on project and begin designing (on paper)!


Review top designs, choose your project and/or team!!

Key design challenges?

Begin designing your project (on paper)

Start building!

  • Present progress and discuss plan for the week

  • Work on cars!


Coding and sensors: get it working!

Review design challenges and EDP:

  • What worked?

  • What didn't?

  • What to change next time?