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Physical Science
Unit Pacing Guide

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This unit should be implemented to supplement student learning on the concepts of Force and Motion.

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 streamline Lab 1 and focus on how gravitational force affects the motion of the Unpowered Super Car, present Play Part 1 as a guided demonstration, and then have students complete the trials in Play Part 2. Focus the activity on testing, observing, and measuring the distance that the Super Car travels when launched from the inclined plane set to different heights. Encourage students to identify what they notice about the distance the car travels from the varying heights, and help them to make the connection to the increased pull of gravitational force as the car travels down the inclined plane.
    • Lab 2 can be completed in less time by having the test areas preset, and by having groups complete just three test trials, instead of five. Have students compare results in the Mid-Play Break, then complete the Test Drive Event as written in Play Part 2.
    • The Play sections of Lab 3 can be condensed with a focus on comparing the three different gear configurations. Start Play with a quick demonstration to show students how to change the gear configuration on the Motorized Super Car. Have students complete two trials for each gear configuration and compare the results. As students are conducting trials, have them identify the driving gear and the driven gear, and help them to identify how the driving gear transfers power to the driven gear in different ways, depending on the size ratio.
    • Lab 4 can be shortened by completing Play Part 1 as a guided demonstration. Then, focus on assisting students as they experiment with driving and turning the Steering Super Car in the Drive Test course in Play Part 2.
    • Lab 5 can be implemented in less time by completing Play Part 1 as a guided demonstration, and building the base project for Play Part 2 with students. Then, students can focus on changing parameters and testing projects for the trials in Play Part 2. 
    • This Unit can be completed in less time with a focus on testing and gathering data to recognize patterns of how force affects motion. Have the builds and test areas for each Lab made before the lesson. Then, use Engage to show a quick demonstration of how to complete the trial for that Lab and have students jump right into making predictions, testing, and recording data. During the Mid-Play Break and Share sections, guide conversations to help students identify the patterns they have observed and recorded on their Data Collection Sheets.
  • Reteaching Strategies:
    • As a follow-up to Lab 1, and to give students more practice with observing patterns of motion and collecting data, have students complete the Ramp Racers Activity and use the Data Collection Sheet (Google / .docx / .pdf) to record the motion of the Wheel in their trials. Which design had the Wheel travel the farthest? Can they identify what forces are affecting the motion of the Wheel? What would happen if they change the slope of the incline plane build for this activity?
    • If students need more support to make the connection between the amount of force applied and the distance that the Super Car travels in Labs 1 and 2, have them complete a second set of trials with the Super Car where they compare a more distinct data set: 1 and 4 Knob turns. Have students first make a prediction, then test each and record the distance traveled in a Data Collection Sheet (Google / .docx / .pdf). Have them compare these distances, then make and test a prediction for 3 Knob turns. Help students to make the connection to the data recorded in their Data Collection Sheet, and how collecting data and reviewing it can help us recognize patterns and predict the changes in the motion of the Super Car.
    • Show students the Connecting Your Robot and Configuring your Robot tutorial videos to help students with these initial steps for coding a robot with VEXcode GO.
    • Review the Help feature for the [Set drive velocity] block with students to illustrate how to change parameters in this block. You can also show students the Changing Velocities Example project to illustrate how this block can be used in a project to control the speed at which the robot drives and turns.
  • Extending this Unit: 
    • The Strike! Activity (Google / .docx / .pdf) can be used to give students an additional challenge that incorporates working with force and motion. Have students complete the activity, then create an illustration that identifies the forces in action as the wheel rolls down the incline plane and knocks down the pins.
    • For an additional challenge with the Super Car build, have students complete Multiplication Road Activity (Google / .docx / .pdf). This activity will give students additional practice powering their Super Car, while also practicing their multiplication tables.
    • To extend the Unit and provide an opportunity for students to practice persuasive writing, have students complete the Super(hero) Car! Activity (Google / .docx / .pdf). In this activity, students will design add-on features, then write an ad designed to sell it to members of their favorite superhero!
    • You can extend this Unit with an additional focus on using spatial language and descriptions by having students recreate build instructions for their Super Cars, or a Super(hero) Car! (Google / .docx / .pdf) Then, have groups switch build instructions and assemble each others' cars.  Students will need to use spatial language effectively to describe the steps and the position of objects as they write their build instructions, and as they follow the instructions from other groups. 
    • 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.
  • If students get done building at different times, there are a number of meaningful learning activities early finishers can participate in as the rest of the group finishes building. View this article for several suggestions about how to plan for engaging students who finish building earlier than others. From establishing classroom helper routines to completing short activities, there are many ways to keep all students engaged throughout class building time.

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 best suit your own unique teaching environment.

VEXcode GO Resources

Concept Resource Description

Connecting a GO Brain

Connecting to Your Robot

Tutorial Video

Demonstrates the steps to connect a VEX GO Brain to VEXcode GO.

Configuring a Robot

Configuring Your Robot

Tutorial Video

Shows the steps to configure a robot in VEXcode GO, and how this will populate blocks in the Toolbox that work with the chosen configuration.

Starting a Project

Starting a Project

Tutorial Video

Demonstrates the steps for starting and stopping a project in VEXcode GO.

Using the Help Feature

Using Help

Tutorial Video

Illustrates how to use the Help feature in VEXcode GO to learn the names and functions of blocks. Use the Help feature with the [Set drive velocity] block to learn more about how to change parameters in this block.

Setting Drive Velocity

Changing Velocities

Example Project

Shows different ways that the [Set drive velocity] block can be used in a VEXcode GO project to control the speed at which a robot drives and turns.

Using VEXcode GO Help

You can use the Help feature together with your students as an additional means to explain how specific blocks are functioning in a project. After reading the description for, or with, your student, you can use the example shown for extra practice with that block. Ask students to describe what the robot will do in the project shown, and help them make connections to how that is similar or different to the project they are working on.

Blocks in this Unit include:

  • [Drive for]
  • [Drive]
  • [Set drive velocity]