The Get Ready...Get VEX...GO! PDF book and accompanying Teacher’s Guide are resources to support the introduction of VEX GO with your students, as well as the ongoing exploration and learning with VEX GO throughout the year.
This article will cover:
- Using the book to introduce VEX GO
- Using the book as a classroom resource
- Using the Teacher’s Guide prompts
- Sharing the book with your classroom community
Using the book to introduce VEX GO
For students who are new to VEX GO, the Get Ready...Get VEX...GO! PDF book and Teacher’s Guide give you the opportunity to introduce the kit and idea of hands-on STEM learning in a flexible and fun way. It is designed to be an interactive read aloud experience, and as such, students should be in their groups, with access to their VEX GO Kits as you present the story. The activity embedded within the book will give students a chance to create a simple build in their groups, and participate in the turn taking and building practices that will be used in future VEX GO learning experiences. The book is provided in PDF form so that it can be printed and read as you would other books in your classroom; or you can project the book’s pages so that students can see each page in more detail.
The Get Ready...Get VEX...GO! Teacher’s Guide can be used in conjunction with the story, to offer additional information, activities, and discussion prompts to students as you engage with the book.
Each Google slide of the Teacher’s Guide offers the following:
- The feature or concept the page of the book is introducing
- The page of the book that aligns with each slide
- A Share, Show, or Find prompt that offers an active prompt or activity connected to the VEX GO feature or concept
- A Think prompt that offers a conversation starter related to the habits of mind that support learning with VEX GO
This introductory experience is offered in detail in the Intro to Building STEM Lab Unit, Lab 1: Kit Introduction. The Engage section of this STEM Lab offers a series of Acts and Asks to spark a conversation about students’ experiences with building or creating in order to learn about something, followed by facilitation of the story activity with your students.
The Get Ready...Get VEX...GO! PDF book and Teacher’s Guide are also linked in the Materials list of each Level 1 VEX GO STEM Lab, with a facilitation note and a reference to introducing students to VEX GO with these resources. (Level 1 STEM Labs are designed for students who have no or very little experience with the VEX GO Kit or coding.) To add this introductory element to a STEM Lab, allow for an additional 15 minutes of instructional time prior to beginning the Lab. You can refer to the Engage section of the Kit Introduction STEM Lab at any time to see how the experience is framed.
Using the book as a classroom resources
The Get Ready...Get VEX...GO! PDF book and Teacher’s Guide are not only for introductory purposes, but can also be used as a resource for students as they continue to learn and build with VEX GO throughout the year. A printed copy of the book can be added to your classroom library, STEM resources area, or VEX GO Learning Center so that students can revisit it at any time to practice building or to see how the Pin Tool is used.
As a STEM Teacher, Get Ready...Get VEX...GO! offers the opportunity to participate in literacy related events throughout the school year, in an authentic way. You can use the book and Teacher’s Guide prompts to facilitate a lesson as part of something like Read Across America, or International Literacy Day.
You can also share the “Keep GOing…” slide from the Teacher’s Guide with students in a learning center setting or as extension activities as they are getting to know VEX GO. These activities are designed to be simple, and to offer students an opportunity to build on their initial excitement about VEX GO through a variety of different mediums and small explorations.
The Get Ready...Get VEX...GO! PDF book and Teacher’s Guide are also helpful for reteaching, in situations like a new student joining the class who has not used VEX GO before, or returning to using VEX GO after not using it for a little while. The book and build can be offered to students as part of morning work, or in a learning center, so that they can read and revisit the simple build independently or in small groups. Or, you may choose to reread the story and complete the build as a whole class – but this time with a different focus for students’ thinking. By offering different prompts from the Teacher’s Guide each time you read, the experience can shape students’ thinking and learning in different ways.
Using the Teacher’s Guide prompts
The Teacher’s Guide offers a variety of prompts to keep students engaged and interacting with their VEX GO materials throughout the book. These prompts can also be used independently, at any time, to spark discussions or to revisit elements of the VEX GO Kit in more detail. The Share, Show, and Find prompts are designed to give more tangible and concrete connections to the VEX GO Kit and concepts; while the Think prompts are designed to focus attention to the habits of mind that support VEX GO learning experiences, like patience, persistence, and teamwork. You may wish to print out the prompts and keep them as a set to reference and use throughout the year.
Teacher’s Guide prompts can be used in many ways, including but not limited to:
- As additional question during Share discussions to wrap up a STEM Lab experience
- As journal prompts for students before, during, or after a STEM Lab or STEM learning experience
- As an focus for a VEX GO Learning Center to help students think about their mindset while working, as well as their building skills
- As Morning Meeting or whole class conversation prompts to share experiences and connect VEX GO to previous learning
- As homework prompts for students to reflect on their learning and group work
- As interview questions for students to ask each other, or other students or adults learning or working in STEM fields
Sharing the book with your classroom community
The Get Ready...Get VEX...GO! PDF book can also be useful to help others in your classroom community, besides your students, stay connected to why you are using VEX GO in your classroom. Share the book with families, in addition to the Letter Home for your first STEM Lab Unit, so that they can be introduced to VEX GO along with their students. This will give them a shared point of entry to engage students in conversations about what they are excited to do and learn with VEX GO, to further foster the connection between home and school.
Additionally, the story and Teacher’s Guide can be useful resources for substitute teachers or support professionals in your classroom. Just because you won’t be at school, doesn’t mean that your class needs to stop using VEX GO. The same simple, quick build experience that your students had by building a J.O.S.H. is one that a substitute teacher could have to get themselves acclimated to VEX GO construction, prior to facilitating a lesson. Additionally, support professionals can read the story and use it as a reference for students to help them be successful with VEX GO in the classroom.