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Moving Through a City
Lab 2 - Self-Driving Car Obstacle Challenge

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Launch the Engage Section

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

  1. Demonstrate how an obstacle works. 
  2. Demonstrate types of obstacles such as cones, rocks on a road, and others. 
  3. Introduce Motion game as a way to test out how obstacles work. 
  4. Put students in pairs.
  5. Explain how one student will be an obstacle and the other student will be a car. 
  6. Instruct the “obstacle” student to choose a spot in front of their partner to stand with their hands clasp to their back. 
  7. Tell students not to “push” or “pull” their partner.
  8. After five minutes, the teacher will review with students verbally.
  9. Demonstrate where real world obstacles could use pushing and pulling such as a trailer on the back of a car.
  1. What is an obstacle? 
  2. How can we get around obstacles?
  3. How can we use teamwork to complete this game? If one partner is the obstacle what would the other partner do?
  4. Where will you stand to block or make an obstacle for your partner?
  5. What makes this challenge hard?
  6. What movements will you use to get around the “obstacle” partner?
  7. What would happen if you “pushed” your partner? Could you have gotten by without going around?
  8. Do you think your partner could have “pulled” you and stopped you from moving on?
  9. Where do we see this “pushing” and “pulling” in the real world?


  1. InstructInstruct students that they will be playing the Movement Game. They will need to know what an obstacle is. Give examples from real life, such as potholes or detour signs in a road. Let students know that they will be playing a game with a partner where one person is a “car” and the other is an “obstacle.” The car will need to “drive” past the obstacle.
  2. DistributeDistribute students' roles in the Motion Game.
    • The person who is the “obstacle” will find a place in the classroom to stand with their hands behind their back. 
    • The person who is the “car” will move, one step at a time, and try to avoid the obstacle person.
  3. FacilitateFacilitate a discussion after students have completed the game by asking the following questions:
    • How is our 123 Robot similar to a car? 
    • Do you think the 123 Robot could avoid obstacles similar to a car? How? 
    • What commands could we use to code our 123 Robot to move around an obstacle? (i.e. move forward, turn)
  4. OfferOffer suggestions to students who need help coming up with names for the directions for their movement such as forward, backward, left, and right.
A VEX 123 character

Teacher Troubleshooting

Facilitation Strategies

  • Allow students to use materials that they are familiar with and enjoy.
  • The motion game can be used outside if there is little space.
  • 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:
    • Easy? How can you add on to your project, but still achieve the goal of the challenge?