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Coding Fundamentals
Unit Applying VEX 123

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Applying VEX 123

Connection to VEX 123

Applying VEX 123

In the Coding Fundamentals Unit, students will use the Coding cards and Coder to make the 123 Robot  execute discrete behaviors. As students progress throughout the Unit, they will engage in first identifying how robots follow a discrete set of instructions, in the form of symbols or commands, to perform certain behaviors in a particular order. They will then use the Coder cards in a particular order for the robot to navigate a particular course.

Students will conclude the Unit by exploring how to troubleshoot a project by the way of “debugging.” Students will need to compare a project to the intended behaviors of the 123 Robot in order to identify where the error is.

Students will use spatial reasoning skills to mentally map how the robot should move in the Unit. Students will need to use directional words as they use the Coder cards (e.g. drive 1, turn right) to plan the outline for their projects, and will also use gestures as they communicate with their group and their teacher. In this manner, students are able to develop their spatial reasoning skills through coding challenges.

Teaching Coding

Throughout this Unit, students will be engaged with different coding concepts such as robot behaviors, decomposition, sequencing and troubleshooting. The Labs within this unit will follow a similar format:

  • Engage:
    • Teachers will help students make a personal connection to the concepts that will be taught in the Lab.
  • Play:
    • Instruct: Teachers will introduce the coding challenge. Ensure that the students understand the goal of the challenge.
    • Model: Teachers will introduce commands that will be used in the creation of their project to complete the challenge. Model the commands by projecting VEXcode 123 or by showing the physical Coder cards. For Labs that include pseudocode, model for students how to plan and outline the intention for their projects.
    • Facilitate: Teachers will be given prompts to engage students in a discussion about what the goals of their project are, the spatial reasoning involved in the challenge, and how to troubleshoot unexpected outcomes of their projects. This discussion will also verify that the students understand the purpose of the challenge and how to properly use the commands.
    • Remind: Teachers will remind students that their first attempt of their solution will not be correct or run properly the first time. Encourage multiple iterations and remind students that trial and error is a part of learning.
    • Ask: Teachers will engage students in a discussion that will connect the Lab concepts to real-world applications. Some examples could include, “have you ever wanted to be an engineer?” or “where have you seen robots in your life?”
  • Share:
    • Students have an opportunity to communicate their learning in multiple ways. Using the Choice Board, students will be given a “voice and choice” for how they best display their learning.