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Mars Rover-Landing Challenge
Unit Pacing Guide

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Pacing Guide

This unit should be implemented to supplement student learning on the concepts of sensors and creating a coding project to solve a challenge.

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.

Making This Unit Fit Your Unique Classroom Needs

Not every classroom is the same, and teachers face a variety of implementation challenges throughout the year. While each VEX GO 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:
    • To summarize the coding instruction around the [Wait until] block, show students the Wait Until True tutorial video. Then, treat Play Part 1 as a demonstration and have the class share ideas and follow along with you to plan, create, and test a project that drives the Code Base until an object is detected by the Eye Sensor and then stops.
    • In Lab 2, you can combine the Engage instruction with Play Part 1 and have the class work together to build a project where all obstacles on the Field are detected. Students can use this project as the base of their project in Play Part 2.
  • Activities to support reteaching: 
    • For students who need support with putting the blocks in the correct order —or sequence in their projects, show them the Sequencing tutorial video, to reiterate the importance of the order of blocks in a project. See below for more information on the tutorial videos that are available to support this Unit in VEXcode GO.
    • For students who need more practice with the cause and effect nature of the [Wait until] block, show them the Wait Until True tutorial video in VEXcode GO. You can also adapt the Start It GO Activity, or use the Wait Until Push example project, so that students use their Code Base with the additional LED Bumper, and code the robot to move when the LED Bumper is pressed. 
  • Extending this Unit: 
    • After groups complete the testing of the [Wait until] block with the Eye Sensor in Lab 1, have them create a project using [Drive for] to navigate to the same obstacle. Ask questions like, Which project uses more VEXcode GO blocks? Why? What if you moved the obstacle one step away, would either of these projects still work? What makes you say that? 
    • Once groups have successfully detected all of the obstacles in Lab 2, have them continue to change the location of the obstacles or add additional obstacles to the landing site. For an added challenge, change the layout of the tiles and walls of the Field and have students continue to test and refine their projects to detect obstacles.
    • Use the Choice Board activities to extend the Unit, while allowing students to express their voice and choice in what activities they want to complete.
    • To extend the exploration of the Eye Sensor, use the Obstacle GO Activity to have students add color detection to their navigation using the Eye Sensor. You can complete this activity as a whole class, or with small groups who are ready for an additional challenge.

The following VEXcode GO resources support the coding concepts that are taught in this STEM Lab Unit. Above are some ways to use these resources to support your implementation needs, from catching up for missed class time, to remote learning and differentiation. Below is more information about these resources, so you can be confident and prepared for the suggested implementations, or when using these resources to be suit your own unique teaching environment.

VEXcode GO Resources

Concept Resource Description



Tutorial Video

Defines sequence and explains the importance of ordering blocks in a project so the robot performs as you intend it to.

Project Flow

Wait Until True

Tutorial Video

Describes how the [Wait until] block is used with sensor data to control the flow of a project.

Project Flow

Wait Until Push

Example Project

Shows the [Wait until] block in a project, to make the Code Base move when the LED Bumper is pressed.

Drivetrain Commands

Turning Your Robot

Tutorial Video

Describes the difference between the kinds of Drivetrain turn blocks. Use this to expand the coding instruction in Lab 2. 

Using VEXcode GO Help

In this Unit, the VEXcode GO projects are provided for the student either in the form of example projects or images of projects to recreate. You can use the Help feature together with your students as an extension tool to explain how specific blocks are functioning in one of the projects.

After reading the description for, or with your student, you can ask students to describe how the block functions in the project they are working on. If students want more practice with a specific block, have them look at the example provided and ask them what the robot will do in the project shown, then you can help them make connections to how that is similar or different to the project they are working on in the Unit.

Blocks in this Unit include:

  • [Drive] 
  • [Turn for]
  • [Wait until] 
  • <Found object>
  • [Stop driving]
  • [Wait]
  • [Forever]
  • [Set bumper color]