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This unit should be implemented to supplement student learning on the concepts of dentifying and practicing strategies for managing strong emotions and developing self-regulation..

STEM Labs can be adapted in various ways to fit into any classroom or learning environment. Each STEM Lab includes the following 3 sections: Engage, Play, and Share (optional).

Each STEM Lab in this unit can be completed in as little as 40 minutes

Section Summary

The Engage and Play sections, which contain the primary learning activities, can be completed within 40 minutes. The Share section, which enables students to express their learning is optional, but estimated at around 3-5 minutes per group.

Click on the tabs below to view descriptions of the Engage, Play and Share sections of the STEM Lab.

The Pacing Guide

The pacing guide for each Lab provides step-by-step instructions on What, How, and When to teach. The STEM Lab Pacing Guide previews the concepts that are taught in each section (Engage, Play, and Share (optional)), explains how the section is delivered, and identifies all the materials that are needed.

The pacing guide contains the following information:


Provides the approximate time duration of each section of the Lab.


Provides an overview of what students will do in each Lab.


Lists the materials that are essential to completing the Lab.

Adapting this Unit to Your Classroom

Not every classroom is the same, and teachers face a variety of implementation challenges throughout the year. While each VEX 123 STEM Lab follows a predictable format, there are things that you can do in this Unit to help make it easier to meet those challenges when they arise.

  • Implementing in less time:
    • Skip the Active Share in each Lab to condense the Unit. Document the behavior codes each group creates in Lab 1, so students can reference these later if they want to see the projects their classmates built.
    • In Labs 1 and 2, do Play Part 1 as a whole class guided demonstration, rather than having students work in  individual groups.
    • To expedite student decision making during Lab 2, limit choices of Coder cards that students have access to when building a project, or give students a limited choice of calm down strategies to use to create their code.
  • Activities to support reteaching: For students who need more practice with project planning and matching intended behaviors to Coder cards, use these 123 Activities in your learning center or with the whole class.
    • Act It Out (Google / .docx / .pdf) — Students will create a story with different feelings in it, and code their 123 Robot to ‘act out’ the feelings in the story. Connect this activity to the idea of calming down by having students create a story about a character that uses a calm down strategy effectively..
    • Coder Monster (Google / .docx / .pdf) —  Students will create a monster using their 123 Robot and the Art Ring. They will identify what behaviors they want their monster to complete and create a project in the Coder to match those behaviors. Ask students to code 2 sequences for their monster, one that is calming and one that is the opposite.
  • Extending this Unit: To give students more practice with calming down strategies, have them share some things that they do at home, or in their family, when someone needs to calm down. Can they show the class? How might they code that strategy with the 123 Robot? For an emphasis on coding, challenge students to create multiple “Calm Down Codes” for the same strategies — how can they represent the same human strategy using different robot behaviors?