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Role Play Robot
Unit Applying VEX 123

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Connection to VEX 123

Applying VEX 123

The 123 Robot is a great way for students to explore Social-Emotional Learning and the connection between behavior and emotion in a safe and fun way. Since the 123 Robot cannot think or feel for itself, it needs to “act” out emotions. This offers a wonderful opportunity for students to think more deeply about what robot behaviors are reflective of different feelings, by thinking about their own emotional expressions as a basis for coding their robots.

In Lab 1, students begin by using the “Act happy” Coder card in a project, and naming and observing the 123 Robot’s behaviors that correspond to that Coder card. Then they discuss and act out how they show they are “acting happy.” Students will then expand on this idea to create projects that sequence Coder cards to make the 123 Robot “act” different emotions. They will share the reasons why they chose those behaviors in connection with a particular emotion, and students will be able to see, hear, and connect their own social-emotional vocabulary to that of their classmates.

In Lab 2, students will turn this social-emotional reflection outwards, as they use their projects from Lab 1 to help the 123 Robot role play the feelings of characters in various social stories effectively. This Lab lends itself well to conversations about how the same situation can evoke different feelings in different people, and why that is, as students continue to build upon their Social-Emotional Learning.

Throughout the Unit, students will practice spatial reasoning skills by creating mental models of the feeling words that they are trying to make the 123 Robot perform. In doing so, they will be thinking and planning the movement, sights, and sounds of the 123 Robot in sequence. Describing that sequence to others, and connecting the ideas to the actual sequencing of the Coder cards in the Coder will help students spatial reasoning to grow as they gain practice with building, manipulating, and communicating those mental models in a project with the 123 Robot.

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.

Using Coder Card Posters in Your Classroom

Coder card posters can be one element that reinforces the concepts, vocabulary, and learning that is taking place with VEX 123. Coder card posters can also be used to ground a Learning Center or classroom space and help define the learning that will take place there. Students and teachers can use these posters for reference during class, and as a shared visual aid in discussions and learning experiences. See the Using Coder Card Posters in the Classroom VEX Library article to download these printable posters as PDFs.  

Use Coder card posters to highlight specific Coder cards, or refer to cards as you are teaching. Students can use these posters to review terminology as they are working with VEX 123. Possible uses for the Coder card printable posters in your classroom include:

  • Bulletin Boards - Print and display the Coder card posters on a bulletin board to reinforce learning with VEX 123, and carry the coding theme throughout the classroom. Reference posters as you implement lessons and encourage students to use posters as a visual aid during discussions. Have them identify cards on the posters as they describe the behaviors of the cards to the class.
  • Student Manipulatives - Print and laminate a set of posters for each student group to use as a reference while working in STEM Labs and completing 123 Activities. Students can first identify the behaviors that they want their 123 Robot to complete, then they can look at the behavior descriptions on the posters to identify the Coder cards that match those behaviors. 
  • Learning Centers - Print and display in a learning center as a handy reference tool to provide support to students as they complete activities independently. Once students determine the behaviors that they want the 123 Robot to complete, they can use the posters to identify the right Coder cards to use in their project. Giving students the tools to find information on their own supports student agency and independence in their learning.
  • Reteaching - Provide a set as a reference for teachers and other support professionals to use for differentiation and support reteaching concepts such as sequencing. Print and laminate a set of posters for support professionals to have on hand as a shared visual aid so they can answer questions and guide students as they practice sequencing commands and building projects. 
  • Extending STEM Labs - Encourage exploration of Coder Cards for Lab extensions. Provide a set of posters for students to have on hand to identify the Coder cards that they will need to complete extension activities. 
    • Have students use the Coder card posters to compare and contrast the different cards and create a project that completes a STEM Lab challenge in a new way. 
    • Have students use the Action, Sound, Look, Time poster to identify cards to add to their projects to have the 123 Robot perform an action to celebrate completing a STEM Lab or Activity challenge. 
  • Use as the basis for brain breaks and games. Print and laminate set for students to use to play a game where they act out the behaviors for select Coder cards.
  • Reinforce Key Vocabulary - Use to encourage vocabulary usage to help students learn the names and behaviors associated with each Coder card. Cut out the Coder cards and behavior descriptions, and have students play a game where they match the Coder card to their associated behavior.

For more information on using posters in your classroom and to access additional VEX posters, see the Using Posters in Your Classroom VEX Library Article.