At VEX Robotics, we strive to provide you with all structure and support that you need to plan and implement GO STEM Labs with your students. GO STEM Labs are supplemental educational resources that support teachers with free, easy to follow STEM lessons and activities. All GO STEM Labs are teacher-facing, and instruction supports are embedded into every lesson so that you can get up and running quickly and focus on facilitating engaging, hands-on activities with your students.
This article will highlight the following features of GO STEM Labs:
- Pacing Guide
- Standards Alignment
- Materials Lists
- Image Slides
- Background Information
- Instruction Supports
- Choice Board
- Letter Home
The Pacing Guide is found in the Unit Overview and provides information on what, how, and when to teach content for each Lab. The Pacing Guide previews the concepts that are taught in each section (Engage, Play, and Share), explains how the section is delivered and identifies all the materials that are needed.
Additionally, we provide a Cumulative Pacing Guide to help in planning which STEM Labs are best suited for your needs.
STEM Lab Units and Labs are aligned with standards from NGSS, CSTA, ISTE, and Common Core Math/ELA. The standards addressed are identified in the Goals and Standards section of the Lab. Each standard listed has a detailed explanation of where the standard is being met during the Lab. All objectives and activities align with the identified standards.
Each Lab includes a Materials Needed list that is a comprehensive guide with all the teaching and student-facing materials required to implement the Lab. The purpose and recommended amount of each material is included in this section so there is no guesswork on why and when materials will be needed.
All supporting materials are provided and are easily accessible through links in this materials list. Included here are Build Instructions to be used with the VEX GO Kit. Student-facing documents, such as worksheets, are also linked. These links lead to editable Google Drive documents that can be shared with students as is, or edited to suit your needs.
In addition to the Lab Materials Needed section, we provide a Master Materials List with everything that will be needed for your classroom to implement the STEM Labs, Mini-Lessons, and Activities.
Visual aids are provided through links to editable Image Slideshows that can be projected or printed for students. Image Slideshows offer teachers resources to show students visual representations and to build background knowledge. This slide deck ensures teachers and students are on the same page through guided visual images and build instructions. Links to the Image Slideshow are found in the Materials Needed section of the Lab.
The Background Information in the Unit Overview provides teachers with supplementary information on the STEM topics investigated in the Labs. Each section also offers insight into how to connect the builds and activities to these concepts.
This section also covers the important VEX GO Kit pieces that will be used in the build.
We make it easy to follow along and teach with STEM Labs. Each Lab contains supplementary material to help with implementing the Lab including a vocabulary list, an Acts & Asks section, a Teacher Troubleshooting guide, and graphics and animations for visual aids.
The vocabulary list allows teachers to build a common language for discussing the concepts covered and materials used in the STEM Labs. Included are suggestions and strategies to implement vocabulary in a real-world context and at its highest level.
Acts & Asks
The Acts & Asks section walks a teacher through the introduction of the STEM Lab in a way that makes authentic connections with students. It provides step by step guidance for engaging students in a fun and accessible way. Acts & Asks allows teachers to feel supported in questioning strategies and how to demonstrate STEM topics.
Troubleshooting presents tips and tricks from experienced educators who have identified places in the STEM Labs where students may need additional support.
Each STEM Lab displays graphics and animations that allow students and teachers to be on the same page and easily understand the desired result of a lesson or challenge. All graphics in the Labs are also in the Image Slideshow so they can be shared with students. By allowing for both teachers and students to be on the same page visually, the VEX GO animations and graphics provide easy implementation of each STEM Lab and activity.
The Choice Board provides a selection of activities for students to display their voice and choice within their learning. Student voice and choice is a way to engage students with the learning process by empowering them to be self-directed and have ownership of their learning. Allowing students to have a choice in their learning gives them the opportunity to explore their own areas of interest. The Choice Board is student-facing and includes nine activities that can be completed by students independently. The Choice Board can be used in multiple ways by the teacher to:
- Engage students who finish early
- Assess what students have learned at different points throughout the Unit
- Extend the Unit or lesson
- Allow students to display their learning in the Share section
The Choice Board is intended to provide content that can be added to the classroom’s existing Choice Board or to any bulletin board in the classroom.
In each VEX GO STEM Lab unit, you will find a letter home. The purpose of this letter is for your classroom guardians to receive a detailed and content-specific guide of what the students are learning and creating when using VEX GO Kits in the classroom. The letter home is easily accessible in an editable format for you to copy and personalize to best fit the needs of your students.
Also, see the Teacher Resources in STEM Labs for more detailed information on the wealth of materials provided to help you plan and implement VEX GO STEM Labs for your class.