There has been much interest in achieving educational and research objectives through the use of small, low-cost robot platforms. While our initial experiences with these platforms were similarly positive, we questioned whether these platforms could be pushed beyond their early uses and transitioned towards achieving substantial educational and research goals. This article reports initial results of this investigation - the construction and implementation of a series of detailed lab assignments using these platforms to tackle basic computer science, AI, robotics, and engineering problems. We first provide detailed descriptions of the labs we have developed and then discuss the robot platforms, including the progression of hardware issues encountered. Finally, we share what we have learned from this endeavor.