Using VEX 123 in Your Learning Environment

What is VEX 123?


These resources are designed to provide you with the structure and support necessary to integrate STEM into your learning environment. These resources will help novice teachers bring technology and innovation to their schools and experienced teachers create 21st Century classrooms.

Who is it for?

General Education Teacher

An educator teaching primary grade levels can encourage STEM learning through hands-on, screen-free, step by step lessons, interactive learning centers, and independent activities that spur investigation and design theory.


Implementing computer science is simple using VEX 123 which does not require a screen or tablet for use. Using step by step lessons that encourage developmentally appropriate hands-on learning from STEM labs to activity centers to engage students in the primary classroom.

STEM Coordinator/Administrator

A STEM coordinator can build a continuum from K-12 which will impact a school’s professional development on a school-wide level. By encouraging staff professional development, STEM Coordinators can use VEX 123 as a tool to expand and instill STEM values into any curriculum in addition to a resource for teachers to impact their classroom using the STEM Labs and activities for centers and enrichment during the school year.


A makerspace educator can use VEX 123 in a variety of ways due to its flexibility in activities and screen-free capability. VEX 123 allows students to learn Computer Science without using a device. The STEM Units can offer support to design and create projects in the makerspace. VEX 123 offers open-ended opportunities to code and engineer through activities to engage any student in a makerspace. VEX 123 gives support to the educator through the Teacher Certification, teacher notes, and the STEM Unit lesson slide deck to allow flexibility for teachers to use in a lesson or as supplemental material for any activity.


VEX 123 gives librarians support to easily get started teaching technology. From easy storage solutions to device-free implementation, librarians can easily get started teaching VEX 123 in any library. Through the Teacher Certification, teacher notes, and step by step lesson plans, VEX 123 gives librarians the support to implement STEM Labs, activities, enrichment, or open-ended activities and design challenges. By providing step by step guidance, VEX 123 is a resource for any librarian looking to strengthen the curriculum in their 21st Century library.

Afterschool Club

VEX 123 fits into any afterschool club or program by giving students the ability to explore and collaborate on STEM Labs and independent activities using device-free robotics. Through these engaging activities, students are actively engaged in testing out and designing challenges that relate back to interdisciplinary subjects such as science, math, and reading in addition to concepts in engineering and design theory.

Summer Camp

VEX 123 offers a summer camp with a variety of screen-free activities. With STEM Labs, center activities, independent activities, and open-ended challenges, VEX 123 offers flexibility to a summer camp looking for a wide variety of content to fit into a longer course. VEX 123 can be used at a summer camp to teach children about coding and engineering without needing an additional device. A summer camp using VEX 123 will have a variety of engaging activities in addition to developmentally appropriate high level coding learning with easy entry for students of all ages and abilities.


VEX 123 allows students to work screen-free at home. In addition, VEX 123 gives exceptional support to homeschool families by providing step by step lesson plans, lesson slide decks, teacher notes in each lesson, personalized learning opportunities through choiceboards, activities to extend learning, and teacher certification to strengthen knowledge for teaching the STEM Units. VEX 123’s flexibility easily allows any parent to get started right away teaching coding. VEX 123 gives students the opportunity to program, explore, and engage in STEM activities with the help of their teacher or independently using STEM Labs and enrichment activities.

Is it easy to get started?

Yes, and here’s why. There are three easy steps to start with VEX 123. First, unpack VEX 123. Second, read the teacher notes. Third, gather materials for a STEM Lesson or mini-lesson. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. You need to spend no more than 5 minutes unpacking, reading the teacher notes, and then beginning your lesson.

Which STEM Labs are for me?

Teachers and schools desire a plan for instruction that aligns with their goals. Check out our recommendations for pacing instruction based on the school calendar, the classroom schedule, and student learning needs..

When can I use the STEM Labs?

Lesson-aligned practice

Each STEM Lab can be taught in a long or short format that directly aligns to Common Core ELA and Math and NGSS standards. STEM Lab implementation takes minutes to engage and propel any Science, Math, ELA, or Social Studies lesson!

Topic review

With STEM topics in a wide range of subjects such as Science, Math, Engineering, and ELA, each STEM Lab or activity can supplement a rich school curriculum with assessment and engaging review for students of all ages. With a multitude of activities and practice, students can personalize their learning with choiceboard activities and exciting experiences to code, learn, and play.


Present students with engaging activities that can be used in a small group or independently to strengthen problem solving skills. In addition to problem solving, empower students with computational thinking skills using authentic learning that dives into subjects such as ELA, Math, Science, and Engineering.

Personalized Learning

Sharpen student skills through a VEX 123 Choiceboard in each STEM Unit that allows students to choose their own learning path beyond the teacher-directed lesson.

How do I implement the STEM Labs?

The Implementation Guide will show you how quickly and easily you can begin teaching a STEM Lab, with step by step guidance on how to get started teaching STEM in your classroom.

What is the structure and duration of the STEM Labs?

Unit Overview (Engage, Play, Share)

Each unit presents students with scaffolding during a hands-on Engage section, then exploration during the Play section Part 1 and Part 2 allowing for team collaboration and authentic problem solving and then finally students can make their learning visible during the Share section.

Verbs - Play & engage section

Each Engage and Play section gives the teacher support and scaffolding to allow students to implement each STEM Lab to its full extent. Consistent usage of verbs such as instruct, and facilitate allows teachers to feel at ease with the common structure for lesson planning and scaffolding to teach each STEM Lab.

What student materials do I need?

Teacher Resources - Materials list

A list of all the materials your classroom will need to implement the VEX 123 STEM Labs, mini-lessons, and activities.

Robots - Recommendations

Two students per VEX 123 is recommended for both collaboration and computational thinking. At most, no more than 4 students can work as a team together with a VEX 123.

What resources do I have to help me teach?

Teacher Notes


  • Vocabulary allows teachers to emphasize and use specific terms in a real-world context, using different activities, classroom suggestions, and strategies to implement vocabulary at its highest level.


  • Acts/Asks walks a teacher step by step in the Engage and Play sections for easy implementation. Acts/Asks allows teachers to feel supported in questioning strategies, and how to demonstrate STEM topics such as coding.


  • Troubleshooting presents tips and tricks from elementary school teachers who give their own first-hand experience implementing the STEM Labs.


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. 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.

How do I assess the students?

Present and determine student growth through digital documentation examples, student-driven visible thinking strategies, and metacognition-reflection questions related to observing, predicting and collaborating.

Is it aligned to standards?

VEX 123 STEM lab units and lessons are aligned with standards from NGSS, CSTA, ISTE, and Common Core Math/ELA.

How do I communicate with parents?

A Letter Home connects and strengthens the relationship between the parent and child with questions and vocabulary to implore conversations about Computer Science and STEM in relation to all of the VEX 123 activities.


For more information, help, and tips, check out the many resources at VEX Professional Development Plus

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