Communication is key when working in a team, and your students may find that they are calling their LEGO pieces all different names. Having a consistent name for each piece can help ease communication between group members, and between teachers and their groups. It is hard to point out what is wrong with a robot when all a teacher can say is "You put the gray piece in the wrong place." Some of these names may seem a little technical, but using them will help your groups greatly.
These are Straight Beams. They each have a length ranging from 3 to 15. The easiest way to denote them is saying the smallest is a "Straight 3 Beam", noting that it is three holes long.
These are Angled Beams. In the 9797 kits, there are only these Large Angled Beams and Small Angled Beams.
These are Corner Beams, called so because they make a right angle. They also come in Large and Small.
These are Brick Beams. They are shaped like long LEGO bricks, but have holes in them like beams. These also come in various lengths, ranging from 4 to 16. The longest one would be called a "16 Brick Beam".
These very important pieces are Axles (also called Plus Rods). These come in several different lengths. The 2 Axles are the small red ones. From there on, all even length axles — like the 4 Axel to the 12 Axel — are black. The odd lengths are gray — like the 3 Axel and 5 Axel.
These pieces are Axle Connectors. They can be used to connect two axles to make one longer piece.
These are called Perpendicular Axle Connectors, but for the sake of a younger class, you can call them Sideways Axle Connectors. These have many uses, but students tend to shy away from them.
These are Pins. The small colorful ones are Axle Pins. These have an axle on one side and a pin on the other, which is useful for when you want an axle coming out of a pin hole. The bottom ones are Long and Short Pins. The ones at the top right are Bushing Pins — an axel can be inserted into them, converting it into a pin.
These are Bushings. They slide along axles to hold them in place. The gray ones are Bushings and the yellow ones are called Half Bushings.
These LEGO Bricks are the pieces your students will be most familiar with. As for naming them, it is best to call them by their length and width dimensions. The two bricks at the top would be called a 2-by-2 Brick, the one to the left of them would be a 1-by-2 Brick. The ones below work the same way, but are Flat Bricks. The longest one would be called a 2-by-8 Flat Brick.
These are the four Sensors — Sound, Sonic, Light, and Touch — as well as the cords that connect them.
Last, but certainly not least, you have the NXT Brick and the Motors.