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This unit should be implemented to supplement student learning on the concepts of identifying personal feelings and understanding the feelings of others..

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:
    • Skip the Active Share in each Lab to condense the Unit. In Lab 1, document the final emotion codes each group created for use in Lab 2, so students can see and use the projects their classmates built.
    • In Lab 1, test all three Action Coder cards as a class demonstration rather than having individual groups test during Play Part 1.
    • To expedite student decision making during Lab 2, limit choices of emotion codes to the Action Coder cards and one or two additional emotion codes.
  • Activities to support reteaching: For students who need more practice with project planning and matching intended behaviors to Coder cards, use these 123 Activities in your learning center or with the whole class.
    • Training Your Pet (Google Doc/.docx/.pdf) — Students will identify what behaviors they want their 123 Robot ‘pet’ to complete and create a project in the Coder to match those behaviors. Extend this activity by having students code an emotion for their pet.
    • Coder Monster (Google Doc/.docx/.pdf) — Students will create a monster using their 123 Robot and the Art Ring. They will identify what behaviors they want their monster to complete and create a project in the Coder to match those behaviors. Ask students to code an emotion for their monster. Is this an angry monster, a happy monster, or a monster with a different emotion?
  • Extending this Unit:
    • To give students more practice with identifying emotions, have them identify the feeling and create an emotion code for all of the characters in the story prompts during Lab 2. For an emphasis on coding, challenge students to create multiple emotion codes for a single feeling — how can they communicate the same emotion using different behaviors?
    • Use activities from the Choice Board to give students additional practice with the social-emotional learning 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.