School of Computing

A Road Map for Teaching Introductory Programming Using LEGO Mindstorms Robots

Pamela B. Lawhead, Constance G. Bland, David J. Barnes, Michaele E. Duncan, Michael Goldweber, Ralph G. Hollingsworth, and Madeleine Schep

ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, 35(2):182-196, June 2003.


In this paper, we describe a recent trend in the introductory computer science curriculum which advocates conceptualizing computation primarily as coordinated concurrent activities. Consistent with this philosophy is the focus on the event-driven model of computation. While one can utilize these approaches with any thread and/or event supporting object-oriented language (e.g. Java) in a desktop programming environment, they become particularly worthwhile when used in conjunctionwith physical robots. This paper argues the case for the benefits of this approach and provides sample exercises that illustrate the use of this pedagogy using LEGO Mindstorms RCX bricks programmed in Java for use in introductory programming.

Bibtex Record

author = {{P}amela {B}. {L}awhead and {C}onstance {G}. {B}land and {D}avid {J}. {B}arnes and {M}ichaele {E}. {D}uncan and {M}ichael {G}oldweber and {R}alph {G}. {H}ollingsworth and {M}adeleine {S}chep},
title = {{A} {R}oad {M}ap for {T}eaching {I}ntroductory {P}rogramming {U}sing {L}{E}{G}{O} {M}indstorms {R}obots},
month = {June},
year = {2003},
pages = {182-196},
keywords = {determinacy analysis, Craig interpolants},
note = {},
doi = {},
url = {},
    publication_type = {article},
    submission_id = {26462_1059492011},
    journal = {ACM SIGCSE Bulletin},
    volume = {35},
    number = {2},

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Last Updated: 21/03/2014