Total robotics noob, but responsible for teaching it anyways

Hi. Total robotics newbie here, please don’t hate.

I was assigned to teach robotics at the last minute–a subject I know nothing of, but I am eager to learn. Add in virtual learning and a pandemic (meaning there are no actual robots) and I have a real challenge.

Well, my students are returning in person now. They can’t built robots because they can’t share equipment. However, I am thinking about building one robot myself and then having them work on coming up with their own coding/programming of the robot, and I can run each person’s code. All of this I know nothing about, so here are my questions:

  • How do you program a vex clawbot?
  • What program do you use?
  • What language?
  • can they do this from a chromebook?
  • How do you upload the code to the robot?
  • Is this a feasible activity, to have students write a code and then me test it out on the robot?
  • What kind of code would they even write? What kind of things do you typically program a robot to do?

Any help or advice for how to possibly include some actual robots before the year ends would be great. Like I said, total noob. I really am beyond clueless here. I have made up material to get us through a few months, but now I am really starting to flounder and run out of things to do.


(We have already done the VexVR curriculum.)


VEX offers a certified education program in which a teacher can be certified in VEX Iq and EDR. Link is here. These certification programs help a teacher learn about how to use the VEX V5 and IQ systems so that it can be taught in the classroom.

  1. There are built in programs in vexcode v5 or vexcode pro. You would open an example code and there should be a clawbot option.
  2. You can use VexCode V5 or VexCode Pro
  3. C++, Python, or block.
  4. You can use VexCode V5 on Chromebook, but not VexCode Pro
  5. You connect a Micro Usb cord from your Chromebook to your brain.
  6. They can, but like I said there are some prebuilt codes for them to use.
  7. You program the robot to move autonomously across a field and score balls, or you program it for driver control, where they program every button to do something specific.

Hope this helps!


While that’s not wrong, you should plug it into the controller. You can download programs through the controller, and I’d recommend getting a magnetic microusb cable so you don’t damage the port on the brain.

True, but if they’re graduating from the vr program they’re probably going to be making autonomous routines. It’s pretty easy to do, and there are examples in vexcode to help you get started

Assuming your school would allow it, they can run programs off the controller and sanitize it between classes. I you could test out their code for them, but that would be pretty involved

You can make a course where the clawbot moves around something like a water bottle, and have a special course they can complete


I feel like that the certification course would be much better for someone new to VEX rather than teaching using the in-built programs and then having missions to complete. The Certification course not only teaches how to build, but it also teaches how to program and a little about competition as well. The advice that is already in the thread would be helpful for someone who is a little familiar with VEX already. I understand that the certification course goes over what the OP asking, but I feel like it would be the best.


I would like to point out to anyone offering advice that classrooms use cortex when teaching, not V5, unless the curriculum has been updated this year.
You should look at the certification course on the Vex Robotics website, and I recommend using RobotC, if you are using cortex. RobotC is a good beginning language, and has many example codes to look through. It has text and block coding options.


Thank you! I didn’t know about these certification programs. I don’t think they will be much help to me right now (new teacher who had a baby 7 weeks ago–I don’t have time for much else!) but I was hoping to find some kind of training like this to do over the summer to prepare me for next year.

Where do you recommend I start–Vexv5, VexIQ, VexGO, or VexcodeVR? What is the difference between these? (at least between the first 3–I assume the VR is to use with the virtual robot).

So… what is cortex? :grimacing:

That depends on the grade. VEX Go is tailored for K-3, VEX IQ is tailored for 4-8, and VEX V5 is tailored to 6-12.
For middle schools new to VEX, I would recommend VEX IQ.


Great, thank you. I teach high school, so I will go with the v5

Cortex is the system used before V5, but still used for classrooms.
What grade(s) are you teaching and approximately how many students will you have?
Vex IQ is good for beginners in middle school or high school, but cortex is generally used for high school.


I teach high school. My class is about 30 kids, I assume it will be the same next year (I don’t foresee myself finishing this certification before next school year as I just had a baby and have no spare time). Most of my students are freshmen but I have some of every grade. I also have a wide variety of abilities–some have NO knowledge of robots or programming, some of them have been part of robotics clubs for a few years. I was leaning towards V5, but sounds like IQ might be better for my brand-new-to-robotics freshmen.

You could do a mix of both, since you will need multiple kits for 30 students. I would recommend using cortex instead of V5 though, as it is cheaper and the programming software is easier to understand. It could also give your students a better understanding of hardware failures, as cortex can be prone to malfunctions. :slight_smile: V5 is more reliable and easier to use otherwise, though. Hope this helps!


While geared toward Middle School, IQ could be a good choice to get brand new students building and programming right away. The same programming software can be used for IQ and for V5.


Before giving them parts I would prefer teaching them the basics of design and the do’s and don’ts of VEX.


I’ve been a middle school STEM only teacher for 5 years now. I’d be HAPPY to provide some one on one assistance. If you’d like to take me up on the offer, please email me.

I would highly recommend starting off with a graphical language aka code blocks as they let you think about the logic without the syntax. Also the learning curve that c++ or python brings can be daunting to someone who hasn’t coded before.