The WaterBotics Curriculum: Core Concepts

WaterBotics is a problem-based learning curriculum that has been used in a wide variety of science, technology, pre-engineering classes as well as out-of-school settings. Teachers of middle and high school gifted and talented students, general education, and special needs students have all used the curriculum to teach 21st century skills and physical science, programming, and engineering concepts. WaterBotics addresses the Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core ideas identified in the Next Generation Science Standards and other national standards.

The modular, flexible design of the curriculum allows educators to implement the program in classroom settings over a number of weeks or as an intense one-week summer camp experience. The length of time needed to successfully implement the curriculum varies with the age and abilities of the youth, and according to the instructors’ learning objectives and time constraints. Please see Program Details for more information about implementation guidelines.

Some of the specific topics embedded within the curriculum include:


  • Gears and Gear Ratios
  • Buoyancy
  • Stability
  • Inertia
  • Mass, Volume, Density
  • Action/Reaction Forces
  • Momentum
  • Torque
Stability in Water


  • Iterative Design
    • Brainstorm
    • Prototype
    • Test
    • Reflect
    • Redesign
  • Systems Analysis
  • Interface Design
  • Problem-solving
Gear Train


  • Icon-based Programming
  • Flow Diagrams
  • Control Structures
    • Loops
    • Switches
  • Data Handling
  • Sensors & Motors
  • Troubleshooting
NXT Programming