Zero Robotics (ZR) is a programming competition where SPHERES satellites inside the International Space Station (ISS) are controlled by programs developed by YOU! You will create, edit, share, save, simulate, and submit programming code in order to accomplish whatever your given task is. After several rounds of competition–within the class and within your region–finalists will be selected to compete in a live championship aboard the ISS. An astronaut will use your code to conduct the championship competition in microgravity with a live broadcast!

This five-week program was designed to engage middle school students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through the ZR game. We hope to help you better understand this content by connecting it to something we think is pretty exciting: space! You'll also get the chance to learn about STEM careers so that you can understand the many interesting opportunities for success that STEM fields can offer. Most of all, we hope you have fun!

For Students

These links will take you to the activity materials for each week of the program.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Programming Tutorials Index

For Educators

Educator Guide

The Educator Guide is designed to be read electronically using a pdf application, which allows external links to be included. Teaching from a printed version of the guide is not recommended as you will not be able to follow external links to activities and programming tutorials.

Thanks to Natalie Brown for sharing this sample Jeopardy game for use in "Reflection and Assessment." (See Natalie's tips for the game.)

Online companion student materials are available by week; see the links above.

Curriculum Extension Ideas:

See what other Educators have suggested: Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Other

Add Curriculum Extension idea. We love learning from teachers implementing Zero Robotics. Do you have an idea or have you found a resource that will help other educators across the country?

Read All About It!

The following are suggestions for magazines, books, and websites to read to learn more about space, computer science, and other related topics!

  • The January 2013 National Geographic is a 125th anniversary special issue called "Why We Explore" and includes Tim Folger's look at space exploration in "Crazy Far."
  • See the Space section of the National Geographic Society's website for articles and pictures on everything from meteors and our solar system to space exploration and the whole universe.