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Ocean Emergency
Unit Applying VEX GO

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Applying VEX GO

Connection to VEX GO

Applying VEX GO

In the Ocean Emergency Unit, students will use the VEX GO Kit in order to build and code the Code Base robot to navigate a maze, while collecting the ocean debris. Students will also engage in a building component aside from the Code Base. They will have to design and build an extension to attach to their Code Base robot that will collect items.

Builds allow students to create hands-on, 3-D representations of the concepts they are learning. Students practice and build spatial reasoning skills by decomposing the mental image they have for a particular build. They are asked to communicate that image via sketches and build something that meets the criteria outlined in the Lab.

As students progress through the Unit, they will be asked to follow instructions to build the Code Base robot before building their extension. Students will be asked to work in groups to build. Working in groups provides opportunities for students to use spatial language to describe how pieces connect to one another with their group partners. During the design of their extension, students will document their ideas and sketches in order to share them with others, as well as provide a foundation for the building process. Some examples could include, “this piece is on top of that piece,” or “I’m going to use this piece to attach the extension to this part of the Code Base robot.”

Throughout the Unit, students will use VEXcode GO to navigate their robot through different courses as they complete coding challenges. Students will use spatial reasoning skills to mentally map how the robot should move and pick up ocean debris through the challenges in the Unit. Students will need to use directional words as they use Drivetrain commands (e.g. turn right 90 degrees) to create pseudocode for their projects, and will also use gestures as they communicate with their group and their teacher. In this manner, students are able to develop their spatial reasoning skills through both coding and engineering challenges.

Teaching Coding

Throughout this Unit, students will be engaged with different coding concepts such as decomposition and sequencing. 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.