Teacher Resources in 123 STEM Labs

At VEX Robotics, we strive to provide you with all the structure and support that you need to plan and implement 123 STEM Labs with your students. 123 STEM Labs are supplemental educational resources that support teachers with free, easy to follow STEM lessons and activities. All 123 STEM Labs are designed to be your online teacher’s manual, and instructional 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.

123 Teacher

This article will highlight the following features of 123 STEM Labs:


Background Information

Unit Background

Unit Background

The Background Information in the Unit Overview provides teachers with supplementary information on the concepts and topics investigated in the Labs. Each section also offers insight into how to connect the activities to these concepts. This information is meant to give teachers relevant information to connect Lab activities to larger content areas, and to potentially answer follow up questions from students throughout the Labs.

The image shows the Background from the Role Play Robot Unit.View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit.

Alternate Coding Method

Alternate Coding Methods

In each Unit’s Background Information, an ‘Alternate Coding Methods’ section is provided. While each Unit is written for one of the 123 coding methods (Touch, Coder, VEXcode 123), most can be adapted to use other methods to carry out the Lab activities.

This can be helpful in differentiating instruction, and also enables you to see the natural progression as you and your students grow with VEX 123.

The image shows the Alternate Coding Methods section from the Role Play Robot Unit Background.  View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit. The ‘Adapt this Unit to Use an Alternate Coding Method’ is at the bottom of the Background page.


Pacing Guide

Unit pacing guide

Unit Pacing Guide

The Pacing Guide is found in the Unit Overview and provides information on what, how, and when to teach content for each Lab. For a more detailed breakdown of how to use the Pacing Guide to fit the needs of you and your classroom, view this article from the Knowledge Base.

The image shows the Pacing Guide for the Role Play Robot Unit. View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit.

Pacing guide example

Preview of Lab Activities

The Pacing Guide previews a breakdown of approximately how long each section of the Lab should take, with the total Lab time at approximately 40 minutes. The Pacing Guide also shows 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.

The image shows the Pacing Guide for the Role Play Robot Unit. View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit.

123 cumulative pacing guide

Cumulative Pacing Guide

In addition to the Pacing Guides that are provided in every 123 STEM Lab Unit, a Cumulative Pacing Guide is also provided to give you a glimpse of all of the 123 STEM Lab Units and aligned Activities in one place. This is useful in planning how to incorporate 123 STEM Labs into your classroom curriculum. View the Cumulative Pacing Guide here.

This document is a Google Sheet, making it possible to make your own copy of the sheet and edit it to fit the needs of you and your classroom. View the Customizing Resources articles for Google Drive or Microsoft Office for more information on editing this sheet.


Choice Board

Unit choice board

Unit Choice Board

The Choice Board found in the Unit Overview 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 image shows the Choice Board page in the Role Play Robot Unit Overview. View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit.

Example choice board

Example Choice Board

The Choice Board is student-facing and includes six 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.

The image shows the Choice Board for the Role Play Robot Unit. View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit.


Letter Home

Unit letter home

Unit Letter Home

In each VEX 123 STEM Lab Unit Overview, 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 123 in the classroom. To access the Letter Home, select ‘Editable Letter Home’ at the bottom of the page.

The image shows the Letter Home page in the Role Play Robot Unit Overview. View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit.

Letter home document

Letter Home Google Doc

The letter home is easily accessible in an editable format for you to copy and personalize to best fit the needs of your classroom community.

This document is a Google doc, making it possible to make your own copy of the doc and edit it to fit the needs of you and your classroom. View the Customizing Resources articles for Google Drive or Microsoft Office for more information on editing this doc.


Standards Alignment

Goals and Standards

Goals and Standards Section

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.

The image shows the top of the Goals and Standards page for the Role Play Robot Lab 1 - Act Happy. View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit.

Connection to standards

Connections to Standards

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.

The image shows the Connection to Standards for the Role Play Robot Lab 1 - Act Happy. View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit. The Connections to Standards is located at the bottom of the Goals and Standards page.

IFI content standards

VEX 123 Content Standards

In addition to the Connection to Standards that are provided in each 123 STEM Lab and Unit, a Content Standards document is also provided to view all NGSS, CSTA, ISTE, and Common Core Math/ELA content standards met in the 123 STEM Labs and Units in one place. View the Content Standards document here.

This document is a Google Sheet, making it possible to make your own copy of the sheet and edit it to fit the needs of you and your classroom. View the Customizing Resources articles for Google Drive or Microsoft Office for more information on editing this sheet.


Material Lists

Lab materials

Lab Materials Needed

Each Lab includes a Materials Needed list in the Summary section that is a comprehensive guide with all the teaching and student-facing materials required to implement the Lab. The name of the material, the purpose of that material, and recommended amount of each material is included in this section, so there is no guesswork on why and when materials will be needed.

Included here are linked student-facing documents, such as the Lab 1 Image Slideshow. These links lead to editable Google Drive documents that can be shared with students as is, or edited to suit your needs.

The image shows the Materials Needed for the Role Play Robot Lab 1 - Act Happy. View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit.

Environment setup

Environment Setup

The Environment Setup section found under the Materials Needed on the Summary page in a Lab shows how to organize and distribute materials before and during the Lab, to ensure your classroom environment is set up to implement the Lab successfully.

The image shows the Environment Setup for the Role Play Robot Lab 1 - Act Happy. View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit.

Master materials list

Master Materials List

In addition to the Lab-specific Materials Needed section, we provide a Master Materials List with everything that will be needed for your classroom to implement each and every STEM Lab. This can be useful if you are looking at the 123 STEM Lab Curriculum as a whole, or when planning for materials for a multiple Lab engagement. View the Master Materials List here.

This document is a Google Sheet, making it possible to make your own copy of the sheet and edit it to fit the needs of you and your classroom. View the Customizing Resources articles for Google Drive or Microsoft Office for more information on editing this sheet.


Graphics/Animations

Graphics animations

Graphics and Animations

Each STEM Lab displays graphics and animations throughout the Lab 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 123 animations and graphics provide easy implementation of each STEM Lab and activity.

The image shows where an animation is located in the Role Play Robot Lab 1 - Act Happy Play page. View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit.

Image slideshow

Lab Image Slideshow

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. The Image Slideshows contain still images and/or animations. This slide deck ensures teachers and students are on the same page through guided visual imagery. Links to the Image Slideshow are found in the Materials Needed section of the Lab.

The image shows a slide from the Role Play Robot Lab 1 - Act Happy Image Slideshow. View this slideshow in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit.

All Lab Image Slideshows are Google Slides, making it possible to make your own copy of the slides and edit them to fit the needs of you and your classroom. View the Customizing Resources articles for Google Drive or Microsoft Office for more information on editing the Image Slideshows.


Instructional Supports

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.

Vocab list

Vocabulary List

The Vocabulary list found in the Unit Overview 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. The Vocabulary list is not meant for students to memorize, but more so, to become familiar with using the words in the context of the Lab.

The image shows the Vocabulary from the Role Play Robot Unit. View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit.

Acts and Asks

Acts & Asks

The Acts & Asks found in the Engage section of a Lab walks a teacher through the introduction of the STEM Lab in a way that makes authentic connections with students. It provides a step by step breakdown of the Hook, to guide teachers through a dynamic conversation to engage students in a fun and accessible way. Acts & Asks helps teachers to feel supported in questioning strategies and how to demonstrate and introduce STEM topics.

The image shows the Acts & Asks from the Role Play Robot Lab 1 - Act Happy Engage page. View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit.

Teacher Troubleshooting

Teacher Troubleshooting

Teacher Troubleshooting found in the Engage section of a Lab presents tips and tricks from experienced educators who have identified places in the STEM Labs where students may need additional support.

The image shows the Teacher Troubleshooting from the Role Play Robot Lab 1 - Act Happy Engage page. View this example in the context of the VEX 123 Role Play Robot Unit. The Teacher Troubleshooting is located at the bottom of the Engage page.


Additional Resources

123 Teacher Portal

Teacher Portal

In addition to all the resources provided in this article, there are additional resources provided as well. These include VEX 123 Activities, as well as other resources. For more information on the VEX 123 Activities and how you can use them in your classroom environment, view this article from the Knowledge Base.

See the ‘Teacher Resources in STEM Labs’ section of the Teacher Portal for more detailed information on the wealth of materials provided to help you plan and implement VEX123 STEM Labs for your class.

The image shows the VEX 123 STEM Labs Teacher Portal. Navigate to this page and view the additional resources.