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Intro to Coding
Lab 2 - Robot Treasure Hunt

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 code the 123 Robot to move around the treasure map.

1 per group

123 Field

For teachers to create the treasure map.

4 Tiles and 8 walls per treasure map


For teachers and students to create and start a project on the 123 Robot. 

1 per group

Coder cards

For teachers and students to insert into the Coder and see the 123 Robot behaviors.

Enough for the students to properly run their project to navigate the Treasure Map

Treasure Map Labels

For teachers to create the treasure map for students.

1 per group

Lab 2 Image Slideshow

For teacher and student context during the Lab.

1 for teacher facilitation

VEX 123 PDF Printables (optional)

To use as manipulatives to support student project planning and saving. 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, Coder, Art Ring, access to a 123 Field, and the following Coder cards:
    • One "When start 123" Coder card
    • Four "Drive 1" Coder cards
    • One "Drive 2" Coder card
    • One "Drive 4" Coder card
    • One "Turn left" Coder card
    • One "Turn right" Coder card
    • One "Turn around" Coder card

Image of Coder cards needed for the Lab: 1 When star, 4 Drive 1, 1 Drive 2, 1 Drive 4, 1 Turn left, 1 Turn right, 1 Turn around
Coder Cards Needed

  • You will need to set up the treasure map on the 123 Tiles for each group. 123 Tiles should be connected in a square (4 X 4 Tiles) to create the treasure map. Groups will need to share treasure maps as they work through this Lab.
  • Cut out the Treasure Map Labels before beginning the Lab. Place these labels onto the 123 Field to create the ‘treasure map’ for students to move around. Labels include: start map, treasure, and obstacles to move around such as cannons, palm trees and rocks.

Image of Treasure Map setup on 123 Tile field
Treasure Map Setup

  • To keep your class organized, and your students focused on only the necessary Coder cards, only give them access to the cards listed above.
  • To help students take turns and stay focused Lab activities, give students direction for how to share responsibilities. For groups larger than the recommended two students, provide students with more granular roles. Examples of responsibilities for students in this Lab:
    • Laying out the treasure map symbols
    • Placing the 123 Robot on the field in the correct location.
    • Inserting the Coder cards and pressing the "Start" button.
    • Keeping track of the Coder cards and lining them up to plan the group's projects.


Begin the lab by engaging with the students.

  1. Hook

    Ask the students if they have ever been part of a scavenger hunt. How about a maze? What were you trying to do? (Move around to find the treasure or prize). We can use our Coder and Coder cards to communicate with our 123 Robot. We will use the Coder cards to create a project that makes the 123 Robot to move around the 123 Tiles (our treasure map) to find a treasure.

  2. Demonstrate

    What are some Coder cards you can use to tell your 123 Robot how to move around the map? Examples: "Drive 1" or "Turn left."

  3. Leading Question

    The teacher will show students a basic treasure map and use a 123 Robot to move to the treasure. They will introduce the vocabulary term, sequence, to the students as they talk about the order in which they insert the Coder cards into the Coder, and why this order is important.


Allow students to explore the concepts introduced.

Part 1

The teacher will guide students in coding the 123 Robot to move through the map and find the first treasure. The teacher will demonstrate how to plan the steps needed and key movement Coder cards. They will call out the green indicator light on the side of the Coder to indicate which card the 123 Robot is executing. All groups will work step-by-step with the teacher to find the treasure together on their assigned treasure map.

Mid-Play Break

Did the order of your Coder cards matter when your 123 Robot found the first treasure? The teacher will swap two cards from the Play Part 1 sequence and start the project again, to further illustrate the importance of the order of Coder cards in a project.

Part 2

Students will move the labels on the 123 Tiles to change their maps. They will change the location of the treasure and one obstacle. Students will work in their groups to create a project for the 123 Robot to find the treasure on the new map. As students work to create the project, they will be encouraged to keep trying until they accurately can get the 123 Robot to the treasure.

Alternate Coding Methods

While this Lab is written for use with the Coder, it can also be completed using the buttons on the 123 Robot to touch code, or using VEXcode 123. If using the buttons to code with touch, have students sequence button presses to create a project that has the 123 Robot drive to the treasure on their Treasure Map. For more information about coding using the Touch buttons on the 123 Robot, see the Coding with the Touch Buttons on the 123 Robot Knowledge Base article.

If using VEXcode 123, give students a tablet or computer and build the projects with VEXcode 123 to drive the 123 Robot to the treasure. For more information about VEXcode 123, reference articles in the VEXcode 123 section of the Knowledge Base.


Allow students to discuss and display their learning.

Active Share

Students will share their projects on the Coder, and start their projects for the class to see how each group successfully sequenced their projects to reach the treasure.

A VEX 123 character

Discussion Prompts