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Calm Down Robot
Lab 1 - Rowdy Robots

Teacher Portal

Materials Needed

The following is a list of all the materials and teaching resources that are needed to complete the VEX 123 Lab. First listed are the materials needed for the entire Lab, including the 123 Robot. In certain Labs, links to teaching resources in a slideshow format have been included. Not all Labs will include a slideshow. These slides can help provide context and inspiration for your students. All slides are editable, and can be projected for students or used as a teacher resource.

Materials Purpose Recommendation

123 Robot

For teachers and students to create and share projects and observe 123 Robot behaviors. 1 per group


For building a project to use with the 123 Robot. 1 per group

Coder cards

For inserting into the Coder to create a project. Up to 10 per group, see Environment Setup for specifics

Lab 1 Image Slideshow Google / .pptx / .pdf

For visual aids while facilitating the Lab. 1 for the class to view

123 Field

To use as the testing surface for projects. 4 Tiles and 8 Walls per Field

VEX 123 PDF Printables (optional)

To use as manipulatives to support students project planning and saving. 1 per group

Pencils or drawing materials (optional) 

For filling in the printable worksheet. 1 per group

Environment Setup

  • Gather the materials each group needs before class. For this Lab, each group of two students will need a 123 Robot, a Coder, access to a 123 Field, and the following Coder cards:
    • Play Part 1: 
      • One "When start 123" Coder card
      • Three Looks Coder cards (Glow purple, Glow green, Glow blue)
      • Three Sounds Coder Cards (Play honk, Play doorbell, Play crash)
      • Five Motion Coder cards (Drive 1, Drive 2, Turn left, Turn right, Turn around)
        Coder cards needed for Play Part 1
        Coder cards needed for Play Part 1
    • Additional Coder cards for Play Part 2:
      • Three Wait Coder cards (Wait 1 second, Wait 2 seconds, Wait 4 seconds)
        Additional Coder cards for Play Part 2
        Additional Coder cards for Play Part 2
  • Give students directions for how to share responsibilities to help students take turns and stay focused on Lab activities. For groups larger than the recommended two students, provide students with more granular roles. Examples of responsibilities for students in this Lab:
    • Sequencing the Coder cards on a table.
    • Inserting the Coder cards into the Coder.
    • Waking the 123 Robot and connecting the Coder.
    • Pressing the “Start” button to start the project.
  • If you want to prepare your Field ahead of time, connect four 123 Tiles together, and attach 8 Walls around the edge, as shown in the image below.
    123 Field Setup image
    123 Field Setup
  • To prepare your Coder and project for the Engage demonstration, create a project, like the one shown below, and connect your 123 Robot and Coder ahead of time.
    Image of the Coder with the Over Excited example project in it
    Example "Over Excited" Project


Begin the lab by engaging with the students.

  1. Hook

    Have you ever been so excited about something, that you had a hard time staying in control? Guess what, our 123 Robots are having that same situation! They are so excited about something happening after school, that they are having a hard time settling down for school activities.

  2. Demonstrate

    Observe the 123 Robot’s behaviors, and discuss how we sometimes behave this way when we feel strong emotions, like excited or frustrated.

  3. Leading Question

    How do you think you can code your 123 Robot to show a big feeling, like excitement, and act out of control?


Allow students to explore the concepts introduced.

Part 1

Students will create a project to make the 123 Robot act in an overly excited, or out of control, way. They will plan and test their projects in their groups.

Mid-Play Break

Students will place all of the 123 Robots on the Field together, and start their projects at the same time to observe what happens when the “class” of robots appears out of control. Students discuss the connection between what they observed, and how that connects to their own behavior as a class.

Part 2

Students choose an in control behavior, and code their 123 Robot to represent that action. They will plan and test their projects in their groups.

Alternate Coding Methods

While this Lab is written to use the Coder and Coder cards with the 123 Robot to code, it can also be completed using VEXcode 123. If modifying the Lab to use VEXcode 123, give students a tablet or computer and build projects using the Drivetrain, Looks, and Sounds blocks in VEXcode 123.


Allow students to discuss and display their learning.

Active Share

Have each group share their projects. Students should explain why they chose those Coder cards, and can demonstrate the in control behavior for themselves, alongside the 123 Robot.

A VEX 123 character

Discussion Prompts