Hi, I'm Chau and I spent last summer play testing these labs. While doing so, I jotted down some notes and comments I thought someone might find useful. While I don't guarantee these notes are enlightening or particularly entertaining to read, I do hope, by mentioning things I've done that did or didn't work, it will be a time saver to those who read it.
In addition to familiarizing students with their lego kits, this lab will also introduce students to the delicate process of "damaging" legos. For this lab, "damaging" will probably only include cutting and stripping lego motor connectors. My first reaction to this was, "Wait, I'm not REALLY suppose to cut up the lego connectors, am I?" Well, yes, you really do have to cut the lego connectors. But while doing so, keep these cautionary notes in mind.
Soldering with the small headers we are using in this lab can be extremely annoying, especially if this is your first experience soldering. It is especially annoying when you get the header pin too hot and the plastic around the pin melts and warps the direction the pin is facing, making the entire header strip you're working on useless. However, soldering, in its own way, is fun and everyone should go though the experience at least once.
Hint on soldering Lego Wires:
First twist and solder the thin lego wires together. Then solder the single clump of wire to the header. From experience, I have found that if you don't solder the delicate lego wires together first, the wires may fray and snap off. Also, the motor connectors you are building now will be used in almost all other the labs. So it would be wise to solder them together well the first time so you won't need to do it again.
If you use more then one or two photocells, then consider using different colored wires for each photocell, or labeling each photocell as the right/left/front sensor. This will insures each sensor gets put in the proper position, which insures the robot will react properly to its inputs.