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The underwater robotics curriculum offers youth an opportunity to practice 21st-century skills such as teamwork, creative problem-solving, and iterative design. 


Designing, building and controlling a robot to function underwater presents a level of complexity that is different from many land-based robotics programs.

The WaterBotics® curriculum was developed by the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey through two successive National Science Foundation grants. It has been implemented with thousands of middle and high school youths nationwide.


Curriculum Guide Includes

  • Comprehensive & diverse collection of educational materials

  • Planning guides

  • Program scheduling

  • Equipment needs

  • Location & workspace arrangement 

  • Appropriate staffing needs & training 

  • Equipment & technology setup & installation guides

  • Student handouts

  • Programming lessons 


WaterBotics® can be used effectively in a variety of formal and informal educational settings

The modular design of the curriculum allows educators to implement the program according to their own schedules and needs. The length of time needed to successfully implement the curriculum varies with the age and abilities of the participants and according to the instructors’ learning objectives and time constraints.

In addition to the curriculum, the WaterBotics® web site contains numerous support materials that include screencasts of programming lessons, videos demonstrating physical science concepts, sample computer programs, interactive science simulations, and student assessments.


Non Programming Implementation Track

Function Parts

Scalable & Flexible Curriculum Design


Why Underwater Robotics?

  • Promote Growth Mindset Theory

  • Promote awareness of careers that involve S.T.E.M. skills

  • Presents unique, design challenges not found in land-based projects (e.g. buoyancy, control in 3-D)

  • Exposure to science concepts like propulsion, drag, buoyancy and stability, gearing, torque, speed, and thrust

  • Introduce Students to Engineering Design Process


Why LEGO®?

  • Everyone used LEGO® for building material

  • Kids are encouraged to hack away and the components into whatever they can dream up

  • Rapid prototyping supports Engineering Design Process

  • Can leverage prior purchases of LEGO® equipment

Growth Mindset



Program Description


Different from many land-based robotics programs, WaterBotics® is an innovative, underwater robotic program where teams collaborate to design, build, program, test and redesign underwater robots, made with LEGO® and other components.

Teams use LEGO® materials that are familiar, have ease of use and durability, come in a variety of pieces, and are tweak friendly. Teams will learn about the Engineering Design Process (EDP); a format that engineers use to make life easier by creating and improving how things work.


Teams will learn the 5 steps of The Engineering Design Process (EDP)

1. Identify the Problem

2. Research and Brainstorm

3. Design and Build

4. Test and Evaluate

5. Redesign

To ensure that students do not become daunted by building a complex robot right from the start, the curriculum is divided into a series of four “bite-sized” missions that gradually lead to the production of a fully functional robot. Each mission is a rescue scenario which builds upon the previous one so that designing and building are constantly happening.


Junior Engineer


Mission 1: Rescue! Use a single motor to build a robot that can travel in a straight line—both forward and backward—on the surface of the water and save a drowning swimmer. Optimize gearing to improve speed and/or control.

Mission 2: Cleanup! Use a second motor to enable steering and two-dimensional movement. Maneuver the robot on the surface of the water to clean up a spill of hazardous pollutants.

Senior Engineer


(Pre-requisite completion Junior Engineer)

Mission 3: Sweep! Use a third motor to dive under the water. Combine high-density and low-density materials to achieve good buoyancy and stability, making the robot controllable underwater. Detonate or disable underwater “mines” to make a shipping lane safe.

Mission 4: Collect! Combine the products of previous missions to produce a vehicle that can collect samples from a sunken ship and deposit them in various underwater collection bins. A fourth motor may be used to create a mechanism to grab and release the balls.

Head Engineer

Independent Explorers

(Pre-requisite completion Junior & Senior Engineer)

Independent Exploration! With the purchase of the WaterBotics® ROV Kit, students design and build robots independently.

Optional purchase of WaterBotics® ROV Kits available the first day of Senior Engineer class. One WaterBotics® ROV Kit per registrant.

This is a fun instructional program that directly exposes kids to science and engineering standards required in most school systems that can take 180 days of a school year of textbooks, papers, and tests. WaterBotics® is a proven outlet that helps support the learning of standards by teaching and incorporating science and engineering in a way that is unique, hands-on and most of all fun.

Current WaterBotic® Courses Avaliable

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