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Moving Through a City
Lab 3 - Robot City Challenge

Teacher Portal


Launch the Engage Section

ACTS is what the teacher will do and ASKS is how the teacher will facilitate.

  1. Introduce the concept of building and engineering houses.
  2. Demonstrate how to make a house using paper or cardboard. Then, explain where to put each house by putting down the road made of construction paper.
  3. Ask students to place their houses along the road one by one.
  4. Ask the students to look for obstacles.
  5. Demonstrate how to plan their project by using the road as guidance.
  6. Guide students in project planning by modeling how to explain the behaviors that the 123 Robot should execute.
  7. Explain to students the importance of planning their project before they begin.
  1. Who made your house, or apartment you live in? Did an engineer build the house? Why do we need a road?
  2. What would happen if we didn’t have a path?
  3. Does the position of your house make it more difficult for your 123 Robot to navigate the road?
  4. What will the 123 Robot have to do when it comes up to an obstacle?
  5. How would you explain using words and gestures, how the 123 Robot should follow the road to move around the city?
  6. Explain how the 123 Robot should move on the road. How far will it move? How do you know this? Will it turn at all? If so, how far?
  7. Why is it helpful for us to look at the road and plan how far the 123 Robot should move before we start? Will this help us when we start to write code?


  1. InstructInstruct how to make a house using ideas such as creasing a paper to stand without using glue. After making the houses, students will add their house to a classroom city. Once the city is created, create a path through the city that will represent a road.  Students can add obstacles to the road using classroom items. Students will be asked to think about how the 123 Robot will travel through the city on the road while avoiding obstacles.
    Navigate Your City
    Navigate Your City
  2. DistributeDistribute recycled materials such as cardboard and paper to the students.
  3. FacilitateFacilitate the building process:
    • Each student will make their own house. 
    • After making the house, the student will add it to the classroom city by placing it on the classroom floor or the 123 Tiles (if available). 
    • The teacher will start a path through the class city. Students will engineer a path, adding more pieces of paper to connect the houses using a road, until a route is complete throughout the built city.
    • Make the path using construction paper in a straight line about 13cm (~5 in) wide. 
    • Allow students to put obstacles along the road of the city that they will have to navigate. Ensure that the obstacles would not completely block the 123 Robot from maneuvering around it on the road. 
    • Once all students have built a house and added it to the city, group students together in pairs or small groups of three for the Play sections.
    Navigate Your City with Obstacles
    Navigate Your City with Obstacles
  4. OfferOffer suggestions and note positive team building and problem solving strategies as groups build together.
A VEX 123 character

Teacher Troubleshooting

Facilitation Strategies

  • Allow students to use materials that they are familiar with and enjoy. 
  • Allow students to fail, but model how to react before the challenge begins:
    • “Did something go wrong? Great! How can I use this mistake to improve my design?”
  • For students that finish early, ask how they can develop their project:
    • “Was your project easy? How can you add another challenge to your project?”