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  • 8-15 years old
  • 50 minutes - 2 hours, 25 minutes
  • Beginner
Preview image


Learners will build a Testbed to investigate how the VEX IQ Sensors work and compete in the Sense It Challenge!

Key Concepts

  • VEX IQ Sensors

  • Sensor Feedback


  • Follow building instructions to assemble the VEX IQ Testbed.

  • Students will be able to identify the correct output for each sensor.

    • Bumper Switch: tells the robot whether the bumper is pressed (value = 1) or released (value = 0).

    • Color Sensor: tells the robot whether there is a near object detected and if so, the color it is. Also, detects brightness levels.

    • Distance Sensor: tells the robot how far away the nearest object/surface is.

    • Gyro Sensor: tells the robot its heading and/or how much it has turned. When turned to the left (counterclockwise), its readings increase and decrease if turned clockwise.

    • Touch LED: tells the robot whether a user is pressing it (value = 1) or it is released (value = 0) it and can also display a colored light to indicate its status or different parts of a project.

  • Be able to identify the blocks associated with each sensor in the Sensing category.

    • Sensing blocks will not appear until the chosen sensor is configured.

  • Print sensor values to the Brain’s screen using the print block.

Materials needed

  • 1 or more VEX IQ Super Kit

  • VEXcode IQ (version 1.0.4 or later)

    • Testbed Template example project

    • Sense It Challenge example project

  • Engineering notebook

  • Light surface or a piece of paper

  • Roll of black or dark tape

Facilitation Notes

  • Ensure all required parts for the build are available prior to starting this STEM Lab.

  • Ensure you are using the latest version of the VEXcode IQ software (version 1.0.4 or later). This version includes the Sense It Challenge example project that will be used in the Rethink Challenge. If you do not have the latest version of the software, click here to download it.

  • Building with some of this build's parts can be challenging. See the Appendix for tips as needed.

  • Once the build is complete, be sure to connect every Smart Device to your VEX IQ Robot Brain as directed in the last step, Step 26, of the Build Instructions. If not followed correctly, projects may not work or they may not perform as intended in the activity.

  • If you're encountering issues with your Smart Devices, view the Troubleshooting Teacher Notes at the bottom of the pages in Play. This will show you how to install the latest firmware on to your Robot Brain and Smart Devices, as well as how to check to ensure they are working properly.

  • If the Sense It Challenge is being used as a group activity, use paper and pencil to create a leader board to display the highest scores. If available, you could also use a dry erase board or a chalkboard.

  • If multiple students will be downloading their saved projects to the same robot, have the students add their initials to the name of the saved project (For example, "Gyro Sensor_MW). This way students can find and make adjustments to their projects and not others.

  • An engineering notebook can be as simple as lined paper within a folder or binder. The notebook shown is a more sophisticated example that is available through VEX Robotics.

  • The approximate pacing of each section of the Stem Lab is as follows: Seek- 40 minutes, Play- 50 minutes, Apply- 10 minutes, Rethink- 30 minutes, Know- 5 minutes.

Educational Standards

Standards for Technological Literacy (STL)

  • 2.M: Technological systems include input, processes, output, and at times, feedback.

  • 12.D: Follow step-by-step directions to assemble a product.

  • 12.H: Use the information provided in manuals, protocols, or by experienced people to see and understand how things work.

Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.2: Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text’s explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.3: Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.3: follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.9: Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.

  • MP.5: Use appropriate tools strategically.

  • MP.6: Attend to precision.