VEX Rewind: November Recap

STEM Labs

What’s new?

We’ve added two new STEM Labs during the month of November.  Both STEM Labs are for the VEX IQ Robot.

Testbed – VEX IQ Sensors
Grabber
Cumulative Pacing Guide

Why you’ll love it:

The Testbed – VEX IQ Sensors STEM Lab is an introduction to all of the sensors that you can use with your VEX IQ robot. Students will learn how each sensor works, explore sample projects that use the sensor, and play a fun game with the sensors at the end of the STEM Lab.

The Grabber – STEM Lab is a great introduction to linkages and some basic engineering concepts for younger students. This is a hands-on STEM Lab where students get to tinker, build and explore with their VEX IQ kit.

One key part of both VEX IQ and V5 STEM Labs is their flexibility. Your school may want a semester-long robotics class, whereas others want just a few weeks. Some schools want to use robotics to teach engineering, whereas others just want to focus on coding. The cumulative pacing guide provides guidance on how to pace instruction based on your school calendar, your classroom schedules, and your students’ needs. The cumulative pacing guide is located in the Teacher’s Portal.

VEX IQ Stem Labs introduction.

Additional Details:

There are some new Knowledge Base articles on the VEX IQ sensors that are used in the Testbed STEM Lab. Be sure to check those out. Also, don’t forget about the Teacher’s Portal for all of our STEM Labs. The Teacher portal contains instructional planning and support that includes assessments, lesson planning, daily guidance for instruction, strategies for differentiating instruction, answer keys, and integrated teacher notes.

VEX Robotics Knowledge Base

What’s new?

VEX IQ Sensors
V5 Structure
VEXcode V5 Text

Why you’ll love it:

We have over 300 articles in our Knowledge Base, and that number is growing each week. If you haven’t visited our Knowledge Base recently, you may not have noticed that we have begun including videos in our articles. For example, this one is used in the article on the Bumper Switch:

The Bumper Switch explained.

As was already mentioned, we’ve added some articles that show you how the VEX IQ sensors work. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback on both the V5 and the VEX IQ Engineering Knowledge Base articles. We’ve added some more V5 engineering articles this past month. For example, looking for some information on how to decide on a Robot Arm? Trying to find some information on different lift systems for your robot? Look no further than the Knowledge Base. Finally, if you are just getting started with VEXcode V5 Text, we’ve added over 15 articles to help you get started.

Additional Details:

We received some feedback that some customers were causing damage to V5 ports by incorrectly crimping their V5 smart cables, so we just published a Knowledge Base article to address how to properly crimp these cables.

VEXcode

VEXcode IQ Blocks – v1.0.4
VEXcode V5 Blocks – v1.0.4

The VEXcode development team released three updates to VEXcode tools during the month of November.

The first update added Android Tablet Support for VEXcode IQ Blocks and implemented Detailed Error Handling and messaging when errors might be generated. This release also added an Enable/Disable Controller Block to programmatically control when a Wireless Controller configured in the Devices Window is used to control your robot.

The second release, for VEXcode IQ Blocks only, focused on Improved Wireless Download Reliability when downloading to a VEX IQ Brain when using iPads and Android tablets.

Why you’ll love it:

Android Tablet Support – Android users will be excited to learn that VEX IQ Blocks now supports Android Tablets while using a Smart Radio. This greatly expands the number of devices that can wirelessly download to your VEX IQ Brain.

Detailed Error Handling – Previously, users may have created compiler errors due to inadvertent issues such as using a duplicate name when creating, for example, a variable and naming one of their devices. Additionally, if a reserved word (e.g. Motor) was used, the user would also get a download error. Now, VEXcode IQ and V5 Blocks contains logic that warns the user about these errors, before they download their project to the robot.

Enable/Disable Controller Block – Allows users to programmatically enable and disable their wireless controllers that have been configured using the Devices / Robot Configuration pane.

Improved Wireless Download Reliability – Previously, users in noisy RF environments may have experienced download failures due to external interference – VEXcode IQ Blocks can now better handle these situations to improve downloading reliability to a VEX IQ Brain over a Smart Radio (BLE) link.

Additional Details:

Don’t forget that Help is available for each of the new blocks. Also, if you are getting started with Android and VEXcode IQ Blocks, there are a number of articles in the Knowledge Base to help you get started. To download VEXcode, visit code.vex.com where you will also find more detailed release notes.