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Physical Science
Unit Applying VEX GO

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Connection to VEX GO

Applying VEX GO

The VEX GO Kits are a great way to explore the concepts of Force and Motion. Students will investigate how balanced and unbalanced forces affect the motion of the Unpowered Super Car. If forces are balanced, the car will stay stationary. Unbalanced forces will cause the Unpowered Super Car to move.

Students begin the Unit looking at their own connection to forces including gravitational force. The first Lab has the students pushing the Unpowered Super Car. The force of their push will create an unbalanced force causing the Super Car to move. Students will then compare the force applied by their push with the unbalanced force created by allowing the Unpowered Super Car to roll down a ramp. The students connect their personal understanding of gravity to the same forces acting on the Unpowered Super Car as it travels down a ramp.

The relationship between force and motion is expanded on in the second Lab with the Super Car. Students create unbalanced forces in the Super Car by turning a knob and building force in the rubber band. The release of the knob allows the force to become motion as the Super Car moves forward.

Gears and their influence on motion and force are explored in the third Lab of the Unit. In the third Lab: Motorized Super Car, students explore the transfer of force from a motor to a wheel through gears. Students change the arrangement of the gears to determine which order gives the Motorized Super Car the most speed in order to finish a race. 

Students will explore the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces in a fun, hands-on, and engaging manner during the last two Labs. The fourth Lab: Steering Super Car, encourages students to work collaboratively with another group in order to create a larger build that can turn left and right. In order to turn accurately, students will experiment with the permutations of having two switches in the forward, reverse, or off position. They will work to understand that the Steering Super Car needs those balanced forces in opposite directions to turn.

All of the information the students have gained in relation to force and motion will be combined in the fifth Lab. Students first create a project using VEXcode GO to drive the Code Super Car forward. Then, students will test how different velocities affect the Code Super Car’s movement.

Throughout the Unit, students will be asked to describe their builds to one another using spatial talk. Students will gain these spatial language skills by not only manipulating the VEX GO pieces, but also describing their location and orientation using descriptive words and phrases such as behind, in front of, and next to. The practice using spatial language can be touched on throughout the Unit in the discussions during the Mid-Play Breaks and the optional Share section within each Lab. By completing the Physical Science GO STEM Lab Unit, students gain real and authentic learning experiences of the concepts of force and motion through interactive builds using the GO Kits and accompanying activities.