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  • 12 - 18 years old
  • 45 minutes - 4 hrs, 35 min
  • Beginner
Preview image



Students are asked to program a robot to knock down bowling pins using what they know about forces


Key Concepts

  • Programming

  • Robot Behaviors

  • Iterative Design


  • Apply building directions to create a robot that will complete a specific task.

  • Analyze directions to configure and program a robot to complete a series of tasks.

  • Differentiate between the movements by the robot to drive forward and in reverse.

  • Explain how the momentum of an object before a collision can predict the movement of an object after a collision.

Materials needed

  • 1 or more VEX V5 Classroom Starter Kits

  • VEXcode V5

  • Roll of tape

  • Meter stick or ruler

  • Ball (the size and shape of a soccer ball)

  • Plastic bowling pins or paper rolled up to create them

  • Engineering Notebook

Facilitation Notes

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

  • Make sure there is ample space in the classroom to measure out and tape the layout of the "bowling lane" that will be used in the activity.

  • Make sure that your robot is configured properly using the Speedbot (Drivetrain 2-motors, No Gyro) template project. If your robot is configured differently, you can make adjustments in the Robot Configuration view of either VEXcode V5 with blocks or text.

  • If multiple students will be downloading their saved project to the same robot, have the students add their initials to the name of the saved project (For example, "Drive Forward and Reverse_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.

  • Students can share their pseudocode with the teacher for feedback prior to creating the project.

  • The approximate pacing of each section of the Stem Lab is as follows: Seek- 125 minutes, Play- 85 minutes, Apply- 15 minutes, Rethink- 45 minutes, Know- 5 minutes.

Further Your Learning


  • Have students try knocking the pins down at different angles and determine if there are any patterns.


  • Have students conduct further research on car safety features and automobile laws that keep riders safe.


  • Review Newton's Three Laws of Motion and how they apply to the game of bowling.


Educational Standards

Standards for Technological Literacy (STL)

  • 4.D

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

  • HS-PS2.A

  • HS-PS2-1

  • HS-PS2-3

  • 3-PS2-2

Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA)

  • 1B-IC-18

  • 2-AP-19

Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

  • RST.9-10.2

  • RST.9-10.3

  • MP.5

  • MP.6

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)

  • 126.40.c.5.A

  • 126.40.c.5.B

  • 126.40.c.5.G

  • 126.40.c.3.B

  • 126.40.c.3.G