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This unit should be implemented to supplement student learning on the concepts of relating counting to addition.

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, simplify the Engage section by skipping the Acts & Asks student number line and leading a demonstration for how to use the number line with the 123 Robot to solve an equation.
    • Replace the class-wide number line activity in the Active Share in Lab 1 with a brief conversation about how students might solve a multi-step addition equation. Supplement this discussion with questions from the Metacognition-Reflecting Together category of the Share section.
    • In Lab 2, combine Play Parts 1 and 2 into a single activity by having groups independently solve addition problems using the number line, 123 Robot, and manipulatives as demonstrated in the Engage section.
  • Activities to support reteaching:
    • For students who need more practice understanding the one-to-one correspondence of a move button press to a step driven by the 123 Robot, use these 123 Activities in your learning center or with the whole class.
      • Robot Count (Google / .docx / .pdf) — Students will write out the numbers 1-9 on a Tile and drive the 123 Robot to different numbers, practicing coding with the buttons on the 123 Robot.
      • Tow Truck Challenge (Google / .docx / .pdf) — Students will code the 123 Robot to tow a small item (like a pom pom) across a Tile. They will need to count the number of spaces the 123 Robot needs to drive forward to successfully tow the item.
    • For students who need more practice using a number line to solve addition problems, have them complete the Group Number Line, Step-by-Step, or Zipper Bag Number Line activities from the Choice Board.
  • Extending this Unit:
    • To give students more practice with solving addition equations, provide students with more problems to solve using their number lines and 123 Robots. If students are well-versed in addition, extend the Unit by asking students to solve subtraction problems with the number line and 123 Robot. Set up subtraction problems by placing the 123 Robot with the arrow pointing to the smaller numbers.
    • Use activities from the Choice Board to to give students additional practice with the number line and addition skills they are engaging with in this Unit. 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.