Curricula

This section includes links to curricula developed by a variety of leading organizations offering STEM-based robotics lesson programs. We will be happy to include pointers to your curricula on this page. Please contact us at info@the-nref.org to include links to your lesson programs here. 

It is widely held that STEM Education is the key to the future success of our students, educational institutions, industry and economy.  Several pioneering companies have made a science out of boosting STEM education.  We highlight, here, just a few examples: VisualEdge, Inc. offers half a dozen STEM-based games and a range of game fields and accessories, as well as manuals with gaming rules.  MINDS-I provides robust curricula and organizes ground and aerial RoboMagellan contests. Competitions are widely held locally, nationally and internationally using the robotics systems provided by such companies as ParallaxVEX and LEGO.

NREF supports our country's students, schools, educators, and both commercial and nonprofit partners.

The inspiration to pursue science, technology, engineering and math has been a mainstay of our national success, and cinematic icon Marilyn Monroe was emblematic of this as well. She was embedded in a Rosie the Riveter manufacturing program building drones -- aerial robots -- in WWII before being discovered by Hollywood, and like her peers, necessarily understood the technical STEM aspects of her job to make the grade.

·         Autodesk

Autodesk is a leading 3D CAD program for designing objects that can be printed out using 3D printers or milled using CNC devices. It has been integrated with VEX Robotics Curricula and is extensively used by students and designers. More

·         c-Link Systems

c-Link Systems provides robust semester-long curricula and lesson programs, as well as a 3-year STEM learning outline for sophomore through senior high school students with serious ambitions to become engineers or designers. More

·         Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Robotics Academy

The CMU Robotics Academy is a giant in education and its RobotC programming environment is used by many thousands of students and educators in the U.S. and worldwide. Check out its extensive curricula offerings. More

·        FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), launched by American inventor and education innovator Dean Kamen, is a giant program in robotics education. It's daughter programs, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and its sister, the FIRST Technical Challenge, support national and international events. Local, regional, national and international FRC and FTC competitions have brought tens of thousands of students up the robotics learning curve. More

·        FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Curriculum

The FTC is a smaller scale robotics education and competition program that is more affordable, and owing to the smaller size of the robots, somewhat more accessible, than the programs and competitions in full blown FIRST robotics. FTC offers invaluable STEM learning potential that has recommended it to uncounted thousands of students, educators and schools. More

·         intelitek

intelitek has a strong reputation for excellent curricula that embrace not just STEM learning but also experiential training in the full product development and production cycle, from 3D CAD design and development to 3D printing, testing and iterative testing and finilizing of developed product. It's programs are widely used internationally as well as in the U.S. More

·         LEGO Education

LEGO is a longstanding powerhouse in education that has built preeminent STEM programs in schools worldwide; LEGO robotics products includes the NXT and EV3 robot families that come with sensors, programmable microcontrollers, and countless optional modules and accessories. LEGO robot products are available for students of all ages. More

·         MINDS-I

The Foundations curriculum by MINDS-I spans math, physics and basic STEM subjects. Their Drones curriculum covers not just the MINDS-I ground rover applications but also the Physics of Flight, of keen interest to multirotor and drone pilots. The MINDS-I rover, in addition to being an education platform first introduced in schools in the Seattle area, has become a popular RoboMagellan competitor. Whether your interest is ground rovers or aerial drones, these curricula are robust and very well designed. More

·         NASA Robotics Curriculum Clearinghouse

NASA/JPL has taken a leading role in organizing robotics based curricula for our students and educators--and for any citizen with a genuine interest in locating what is available for learning about robotics. The curricula indexed on this page are extensive and are directed at all age levels from K12 through higher education. More

·         PITSCO

PITSCO Education provides comprehensive, robust and detailed STEM curricula and includes a professional development program among their offerings. Their web pages offer an impressive selection of robot products and accessories, many designed for specific challenges. Competing in the World Robot Olympiad university bowling game? PITSCO offers a TETRIX robot set designed for that event. This site is a must-see if you are an educator surveying what is available for your classroom. More

·         ROBOMATTER

ROBOMATTER provides "inexpensive resources for educators that use the motivational effects of robotics to excite students about Computer Science and STEM education." The site includes a wide variety of education products and curriculum for middle schools and high schools, and carreer and technical centers. Robomatter offers classes for both NXT and VEX training.  "Camps-on-a-disk" has all the informaion you need to run a robotics camp. Their vision: "All students are technologically literate, mathematically competent, algorithmic thinkers that are confident about their future." More

·         RobotShop

RobotShop is truly one-stop shopping for all your robotics education needs. This forward thinking powerhouse notes that "As technology evolves ever more quickly in all aspects of modern living, it is important that the next generation know as much as possible about design, electronics, programming and integration in order to stay competitive. This is why robotics is becoming increasingly important at all levels of education." RobotShop's offerings span preschool to graduate level, and include everything from curricula, exercises, challenges, training programs, competitions and professional development resources to wearable technology. It is another must-visit site. More

          ROBOTHINK

RoboThink is a premier STEM edu-tainment (education + entertainment) provider whose offerings are gaining popularity because of their innovative and effective project based K-9th grade robotics, coding, engineering and math curriculum. These programs nurture critical thinking, visual problem solving and fine motor skills, teamwork, communication skills, goal oriented persistence and process-oriented thinking and abstract thought. More

           USC K12 STEM Educational Materials

The University of Southern California (USC) is a national leader in the development of STEM education, and notes that "Studies show that it [robotics] is highly effective in developing team-work and self-confidence." This site is designed to help K12 and other educators develop and improve courses using robotics to teach STEM topics. It includes lesson plans and other resources such as teacher training workshops, public robotic contests and links to helpful websites. More

·         VEX IQ

VEX IQ is a robotics platform designed to transform STEM learning for young students and their teachers. Students can jump right in and snap robots together using this intuitive, toolless system. Free VEX IQ curriculum are available to educators to assist in teaching students the technical and creative thinking skills needed in today's ever more challenging world. More

·         VEX VRC

The VEX Robotics Design System is a platform for learning about areas rich with career opportunities that span not just science, technology, engineering and math, but far more.  This system encourages teamwork, leadership and problem solving among groups. It allows educators to easily cusomize projects to meet students' abilities. It is felt by many to be more affordable and accessible than some of the competing offerings. The VEX platform is found in dozens of countries worldwide and appears to be the fastest growing robotics design system. It is found not just in schools at all levels, but in university labs around the globe, as it is an excellent prototyping tool. Hobbyists also appreciate the advanced capabilities of the VEX system, which includes multiple options in terms of microcontrollers, actuators and sensors. More

·         VisualEdge, Inc. Game-in-a-Box (multiple game packages)

VisualEdge, Inc., is the only organization we are aware of that will will provide VEX Robotics training on-site at no charge or cost.  The company offers half a dozen STEM-based games and an interesting range of game fields and accessories, as well as manuals with gaming rules. Don't miss their Full Pull robot challenges (weight pulling competitions). Contact Dan Ward at VisualEdge, Inc., for details. More