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Implementing VEX 123 STEM Labs

STEM Labs are designed to be the online teacher’s manual for VEX 123. Like a printed teacher’s manual, the teacher-facing content of the STEM Labs provides all of the resources, materials, and information needed to be able to plan, teach, and assess with VEX 123. The Lab Image Slideshows are the student-facing companion to this material. For more detailed information about how to implement a STEM Lab in your classroom, see the Implementing VEX 123 STEM Labs article.

Goals and Standards


Students will apply

  • How to create and start projects using the touch buttons on the 123 Robot.
  • Sequencing button presses in a project to move the 123 Robot in an intended way to complete a challenge. 

Students will make meaning of

  • How a programming language is a set of rules in which symbols represent actions. For example, the arrow symbol on the “Move” button has the 123 Robot move forward one robot length. 
  • How to code the 123 Robot to solve a challenge, such as driving to clear an object from a Tile.

Students will be skilled at

  • Identifying behaviors using symbols on the touch buttons.
  • Creating a project with the touch buttons on the 123 Robot.
  • Sequencing button presses in a project.
  • Waking up the 123 Robot.
  • Starting a project using the touch buttons on the 123 Robot.
  • Shaking to erase a project on the 123 Robot.

Students will know

  • How to create a project using the touch buttons on the 123 Robot.
  • How one button press represents one behavior for the 123 Robot.
  • How complex behaviors can be created by sequencing button presses together.



  1. Students will explain how the symbols on the touch buttons represent behaviors for the 123 Robot.
  2. Students will demonstrate how to sequence the touch buttons to build a project that has the 123 Robot solve a challenge.


  1. During the Engage section, students will communicate a sequence of button presses to their teacher to make the 123 Robot move to the desired location on a Tile. Then in the Mid-Play Break, they will describe how they used the symbols on the touch buttons to help them plan and create their Touch project in Play Part 1.
  2. In Play Part 1, students will sequence touch buttons presses to create a project that moves an object off of the Tile. Then in Play Part 2, they will sequence button presses to have the 123 Robot clear multiple objects off of their Tile. If the button presses are not sequenced in the correct order, then the 123 Robot will not move as intended. 


  1. In Share, students will describe how the symbols on the touch buttons represent the 123 Robot behaviors that are executed when the button is pressed. They will also discuss how they used this understanding to create their projects in Play.
  2. In the Play sections, students will be able to successfully code the 123 Robot to complete the Lab challenge — to clear objects from a Tile. They can show their projects in the Share section and discuss how they used the touch buttons to code their 123 Robots to perform behaviors in the correct sequence to complete the challenge.

Connections to Standards