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Applying VEX GO

Connection to VEX GO

Applying VEX GO

The Code Base VEX GO Unit is a great way to explore introductory building and coding with VEX GO, and to practice spatial reasoning through the building, coding, and navigation challenges throughout the Unit. 

Students are asked to think about directionality to visualize the path the robot needs to travel. In Lab 1, students explore this path using the remote control Drive feature, where changing the Drive Mode changes the way the driver makes sense of how the robot is moving. Turning using 'Tank Drive' necessitates moving one motor differently than the other in order to turn, while turning using 'Split Arcade' is a simpler task. Asking students to explain how they are moving the robot during this Lab gives them an opportunity to explain what they are doing with spatial language. In Lab 2, this hands on driving is translated into coding commands, where students are asked once again visualize the path of the robot, but this time, instead of focusing on the directionality in driving, they are focused on the directionality of the commands. Students create a prescribed path for the robot to travel, and have to use measurements and directions to accomplish the task. Asking students to demonstrate their coding projects using their hands or bodies, gives the opportunity to use spatial reasoning skills in a hands on way. 

Throughout the Unit, students are also learning about how to use the various features and components of the VEX GO Kit. Each Lab focuses on a different way to use VEXcode GO to move the Code Base. Through these explorations, students will gain experience with opening and using example projects, which are a helpful place for students to begin coding so that they can see the code and the activity of the robot right away. Students will then iterate on these projects by changing parameters and adding and removing blocks, practicing the basic skills needed to use VEXcode GO. 

In Lab 3, students are introduced to the concept of a sensor, and how this can be used to enable a robot to interact with the surrounding things. Beginning with the LED Bumper, students experience the cause and effect nature of sensor data in coding, as they make the robot respond to the press of the LED Bumper. Asking students about how the sensor is used within the project can help them to make sense of the Sense - Think - Act decision loop more clearly. In Lab 4, the Eye Sensor is used to detect objects and their colors, and to make the robot make a decision based on that data. During this Lab, reminding the students to look at the Monitor Console can give them a different way to see the data the Eye Sensor 'sees,' and make sense of how the robot is able to use that data in more complex ways.

Teaching Coding

Throughout this Unit, students will be engaged with introductory coding practices and concepts using VEXcode GO, like opening, saving, and modifying projects to accomplish different navigational tasks. The Labs within this Unit will follow a similar format:

  • Engage:
    • Teachers will help students make a personal connection to the concepts that will be taught in the Lab.
  • Play:
    • Instruct: Teachers will introduce the coding challenge. Ensure that the students understand the goal of the challenge.
    • Model: Teachers will introduce commands that will be used in the creation of their project to complete the challenge. Model the commands by projecting VEXcode GO or by showing physical representations of the blocks. For Labs that include pseudocode, model for students how to plan and outline the intention for their projects.
    • Facilitate: Teachers will be given prompts to engage students in a discussion about what the goals of their project are, the spatial reasoning involved in the challenge, and how to troubleshoot unexpected outcomes of their projects. This discussion will also verify that the students understand the purpose of the challenge and how to properly use the commands.
    • Remind: Teachers will remind students that their first attempt of their solution will not be correct or run properly the first time. Encourage multiple iterations and remind students that trial and error is a part of learning.
    • Ask: Teachers will engage students in a discussion that will connect the Lab concepts to real-world applications. Some examples could include, “have you ever wanted to be an engineer?” or “where have you seen robots in your life?”
  • Share:
    • Students have an opportunity to communicate their learning in multiple ways. Using the Choice Board, students will be given a “voice and choice” for how they best display their learning.