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Intro to Coding
Unit Applying VEX 123

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Applying VEX 123

Connection to VEX 123

Applying VEX 123

The 123 Robot is great for young learners ready to explore a variety of concepts throughout all subject areas. In this Unit, students will use the 123 Robot and Coder to practice sequencing. The Coder cards for the 123 Robot are physical examples of a programming language. This helps students organize their projects and see the connection between the programming language (using the Coder and Coder cards) and the behaviors completed by the 123 Robot. Having a physical manipulative can help students make practical applications of abstract ideas like programming and sequencing.

In Lab 1, students will learn the steps needed to communicate with the 123 Robot through the Coder. Students will be given Coder cards and test the behaviors of the 123 Robot. They will apply their knowledge of programming the 123 Robot to create a dance move. During the Active Share, students will share the steps of their project and the dance move that the 123 Robot completes. In Lab 2, students will further their understanding of behaviors by sequencing the commands for the 123 Robot in the correct order to navigate a class treasure map. 

Throughout both Labs, students will gain spatial reasoning skills. Students will be able to sequence the steps to get to the treasure into parts and demonstrate their understanding by coding the 123 Robot to avoid obstacles and reach the treasure.

These Labs will give students an idea of how they are going to engage with STEM Labs in their classroom setting, as well as an introduction to the conversational nature of the learning process of the 123 Robot.

Students will use spatial reasoning skills to mentally map how the 123 Robot should move in the Unit. Students will need to use directional words as they explain during discussions how they think the 123 Robot will behave, and will also use gestures as they communicate with their peers and their teacher. In this manner, students are able to develop their spatial reasoning skills through guided exploration and inquiry.

Teaching Coding

Throughout this Unit, students will be engaged with different coding concepts such as robot behaviors and sequencing. 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.