Free Materials For Teachers
Image©2016 ABS Vending Machine Diagram Of Three Possible Purchases
Three Possible Purchases

The main goal of the Vending Machine is to teach you something new about using regions in IntelliTools Classroom Suite®, but it’s fascinating to play with as well. Students in Grades 1-2 and older students with cognitive challenges will enjoy this advanced Cause and Effect activity.

Simple But Enlightening

The interface is simple and uncluttered, solid yellow with a blue section and a coin slot at the top of the page. A sign beside the slot tells you the prices of three items, a box of jelly beans, a cookie, and a bag of pretzels. Not coincidentally, there also are three clip art coins, a dime, a quarter, and a half dollar, each one of which equals the price of one of the snack items.

Select one of the three coins and move it to the slot, for example the dime, and out comes the box of jelly beans. Try it with each of the other two coins, and you’ll get a cookie with the quarter, and a bag of pretzels with the half dollar.

The Vending Machine always knows which coin you inserted, and dispenses the correct item. It looks so simple, just one slot and three coins, but how does it know? I’ll give you a hint: it works by using regions in a way you’ve never tried before.

The Secret Of How It Works

I’ve written a step by step exploration of this tricky little activity because there is so much you can learn from it. I promise that once you understand exactly how the Vending Machine works, you’ll know a powerful new trick to use in building your own activities. The same trick will work with any activity where you want students to match an item and at the same time have a free choice which item to match.

Two Choices For Using The Tutorial

Download the zip file of the activity, and also the PDF tutorial. An extra copy of the tutorial is part of the zip file of the download, and gets installed into IntelliTools Classroom Suite® when you import the zip file. You’ll see it in the same folder as the activity.

If you are working at a generous sized monitor, you can open that copy by double-clicking on it, assuming you have an application to read a PDF file. Then open the activity, try it out, and follow the tutorial to learn all its secrets. In case you DON”T have a generous screen size, print out the separate downloaded PDF version of the tutorial. Open the Vending Machine in ICS, and follow the tutorial from the printed copy.

More Possibilities

This tutorial and activity would make a fun and engaging half day workshop. There are lots of tips and tricks included in the tutorial, besides the one that makes the Vending Machine work. I’ve grouped these in a “What We Have Learned” section that might be printed separately as a quick reference sheet.

For two more ideas for using regions for more than filtering answers, take a look at the Magic Doors Launcher and the Gumball Machine posts on this web site.


After you finish the hands-on dissection of Vending Machine, meanwhile acquiring a bunch of nifty new techniques, there are three do-it-yourself, hands-on challenges! If you work them all, you’ll have two extra variations on the Vending Machine to save and use with students.

My fond hope is that this tip will inspire many more activity ideas made possible by this regions trick!

Applications needed: Acrobat Reader, IntelliTools Classroom Suite.
Subject area: Tip, Cause and Effect, Life Skills.
Level: Author, PreK-2.

Download-Printable Tutorial

VendingMachineStackedRegions.pdf (2.5 MB) The Vending Machine – Stacked Regions Tutorial to print. Acrobat Reader.

Online Link-Tutorial

Vending Machine: Stacked Regions online The Vending Machine – Stacked Regions Tutorial online, ready to present to a group.


Classroom Suite (7.2 MB) Simple activity and tutorial about advanced use of regions in Classroom Suite v.3 or later.

May 29th, 2016 at 4:31 pm


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