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Coding Fundamentals
Unit Pacing Guide

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This unit should be implemented to supplement student learning on the concepts of robot behaviors, decomposition, sequencing and troubleshooting.

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:
    • In Lab 1, combine Play Parts 1 and 2 into a shorter activity by having all groups create the same project together using the Coder and Coder cards. Then, have groups test the projects themselves.
    • In Lab 2, complete Play Part 1 as a whole class, teacher-led demonstration. This will cut down time from having groups independently test individual Coder cards.
    • In Lab 3, have groups complete Play Part 1 and skip the additional Map Challenge in Play Part 2 and the sharing of those projects in Active Share. This will allow groups to still learn and practice sequencing in a shorter Lab.
    • To shorten Lab 4, provide students with another mixed-up code. This will help students stay focused on the task of debugging rather than on creating their own code. You can also combine the Engage step-by-step and the Play Part 1 activity into a single, teacher-led demonstration to implement the Lab in less time.
  • Activities to support reteaching: For students who need more practice sequencing, debugging, or connecting the symbols on the Coder cards to behaviors of the 123 Robot, use these 123 Activities in your learning center or with the whole class. 
    • Corner Color (Google / .docx / .pdf) — Students will create a Coder project to make their 123 Robot drive to the corner of a Tile and glow a color using Motion and Looks Coder cards. 
    • Move Around (Google / .docx / .pdf) — Students will make a project using Coder cards for the 123 Robot to drive around obstacles on a Tile. They will need to correctly sequence the project to be successful.
    • Ring and Run (Google / .docx / .pdf) — Students will code the 123 Robot to drive to a house, play the doorbell sound, and drive away. They will need to plan the project, sequence the Coder cards, and debug if needed to complete this activity.
  • Extending this Unit
    • Use the activities on the Choice Board so that students can continue practicing and learning about behaviors, sequencing, and debugging. Students can express their voice and choice and choose an activity on their own, or you can assign activities for the whole class or individual students to complete.
    • For a focus on decomposition and sequencing, extend Lab 3 by asking students to drive to three different locations on their Field in one project. They will need to decompose the steps needed to get to each location and match those steps with Coder cards. 
    • For a focus on debugging, create an additional project for students to debug at the end of Lab 4. This should be based on the Coder cards they already have access to during the Lab.