Using the Pacing Guide in VEX 123 STEM Labs

The Pacing Guide, located in the Unit Overview of each 123 STEM Lab Unit, offers information about the learning activities in each STEM Lab in that Unit, as well as support materials for teachers. The Pacing Guide has two main components - an overview of the Labs, and strategies to help teachers meet various implementation challenges they may encounter.


The Pacing Guide

Each Lab in the Unit is broken down to give a preview of the concepts and activities taught throughout the Lab. See how the learning activities are introduced, taught, and shared through the Engage, Play, and Share sections of the Labs.

This information is useful for previewing a Unit at a glance to see what it will cover, and how, as well as the materials needed for each Lab.

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Adapting this Unit to Your Classroom

The “Adapting this Unit to Your Classroom” section offers targeted recommendations and suggestions for how to amend and adapt the 123 STEM Lab Unit to support various challenges or situations that can arise. This guidance is designed to help teachers feel supported in every aspect of teaching STEM Labs in their classrooms, both in the best of circumstances, and especially in the moments when the best laid plans simply don’t work out. STEM Lab Units can be adapted to meet those changing needs when they arise. The challenges addressed in this section offer guidance for situations like needing to implement a Unit in less time, as well as strategies for reteaching and extending the Unit to support differentiation or asynchronous implementation.

  • Implementing in Less Time - Offers ways to condense the learning activities of the STEM Labs in the Unit to be able to meet the same learning goals in less time. Whether combining parts of Play, or replacing an Active Share activity with a brief conversation, this section will offer ways to keep your STEM Lab curriculum on track, even if you’ve lost class time.

  • Activities to Support Reteaching - Offers guidance and specific activities to support reteaching in a variety of situations. With context for the extra practice desired, 123 Activities that align to the Unit are linked with a brief descriptor of the connection, to make reteaching as easy as possible.

  • Extending this Unit - Offers ways to extend the learning of the Unit beyond the activities of the STEM Labs. From curricular extensions, to Choice Board activities, teachers are offered ways to extend the Unit through whole class instruction, or small group work.

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VEX 123 STEM Labs are designed with teachers in mind, and the resources in the VEX 123 platform seek to support teachers as they bring coding concepts to life in any classroom, for any student, and in any implementation scenario.


Tying it All Together - Sara’s Story

Sara is a Kindergarten teacher whose classroom is a bustling hub of activity each day. Her teaching style is firmly rooted in learning through play, and as such, her classroom spaces and Learning Centers lend themselves to hands-on activities. Over the years, Sara has been actively incorporating more unplugged coding and computer science related activities into her curriculum. This year, Sara added VEX 123 to her classroom, to bring those coding concepts to life in a different way. Her students quickly adopted the 123 Robots into their classroom community, and Sara has eagerly seized the opportunity to engage in longer term investigations with the 123 STEM Lab Units.

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However, in the midst of working through the Role Play Robot Unit, a stomach bug spread in Sara’s class, and each day different students were home sick. Sara turned to the Pacing Guide for the Unit, to get ideas for how to keep her whole class engaged and on track, and found the “Activities to support reteaching” were ideal for her situation. The Pacing Guide linked two Activities, so Sara set up one in her 123 Learning Center for the week. Upon returning from being home sick, she made sure each student worked on that Activity during their Morning Center Time. She used the second Activity as a whole class instructional moment, pausing the STEM Lab, to work in this additional lesson. This gave Sara the opportunity to keep the whole class connected to the ideas and concepts of the STEM Lab, despite their varying attendance. The class not only sustained their momentum, but actually got more excited about coding monsters and pets to have emotion codes, in addition to coding their own feelings in the STEM Lab!