Quick Start Tutorial: LEGO Mindstorms NXT

The  LEGO Mindstorms NXT Robotics kit is a wonderful way for kids ages 8 – 100+  :-) to build and program robots.  Follow these steps, in order,  to teach your kids about LEGO Mindstorms NXT Robotics, using free online resources:

  1. LEGO Mindstorms NXT: A Brief Introduction & Tutorial Part 1 is an 8 minute YouTube tutorial by Chad Cardwell which teaches about the parts of a LEGO Mindstorms Kit.
  2. LEGO Mindstorms NXT: A Brief Introduction & Tutorial Part 2 is a second 8.5 minute tutorial by Chad Cardwell,  which introduces how to program a LEGO Mindstorms Robot.  It is just an introduction, but I think it’s a good one.
  3. Create a free account at the Computer Science Student Network.    It gives you free access to lots of computer and robotics training, include the NXT Video Trainer software that used to cost $300.  Once you create an account, log into the account.  After logging in to the account, visit NXT Video Trainer 2.0 and follow the tutorials.
  4. Alternatively,  you could follow the Oregon Robotics Tournament & Outreach Program’s tutorial & exercises:
    1. Essentials
    2. Advanced
  5. By this step, you should have  a good grasp of the basics and some advanced skills.   For robot ideas, visit the following sites:
    1. Projects for NXT 2.0
    2. Projects for NXT 1.0
    3. LEGO Mindstorms NXTLOG 2.0 Projects

    These are good sites for cool designs, but for more, just do an internet search for  “LEGO Mindstorms NXT designs”.  Lots of sites will pop up.

  6. LEGO Engineering: Building & Programming has the NXT Constructopedia Beta 2.1 that you should also take a look at.
  7. Here are some of my favorite books.  I  bought them for my son, as well as a local elementary school robotics club that I started:
    1. The Art of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT-G Programming
    2. LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT: The Mayan Adventure (Technology in Action)
    3. The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor’s Guide
    4. And I want to buy this book: Winning Design!: LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Design Patterns for Fun and Competition
  8. Visit VA Geek Mom’s Store for other products I like and use for my FIRST Lego League team.
  9. If you want to start a FIRST Lego League robotics team, see my FIRST Lego League Coaches tutorial