In this lesson, the children will observe different HEXBUGS to predict how they might move through a block maze.

Content Area:


Learning Goals:

This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers meet the following educational standards:

  • Develop beginning skills in the use of science and engineering practices such as observing, asking questions, solving problems and drawing conclusions
  • Explore the physical properties of objects
  • Explore the concepts of force and motion

Learning Targets:

After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be more proficient at:

  • Developing and using models to represent their ideas, observations and explanations through approaches such as drawing and building
  • Drawing meaning from experience and information by describing, talking and thinking about what happened during an investigation
  • Identifying, describing and comparing the physical properties of objects
  • Exploring the effect of force on objects in and outside of the early childhood environment
toddler planting


Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • HEXBUGS (or similar simple battery-powered machines that move)
  • Paper
  • Unit Blocks
  • Chart Paper or Whiteboard

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

Step 2: Introduce activity.

  1. During a large-group time, introduce the HEXBUGS
  2. Ask the children what they know about HEXBUGS and what they might do.
  3. Write down the children’s ideas on chart paper or a whiteboard.
  4. Demonstrate how to turn the HEXBUGS on.
  5. Invite the children to make predictions about how different HEXBUGS might move as they travel on the floor.
  6. Discuss how we can use unit blocks to make mazes for the HEXBUGS to travel through and how we can draw a plan for what the maze might look like.

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  1. In small groups, review what the children recall from the large-group time about how the HEXBUGS move.
  2. Invite the children to test and observe the movements of two HEXBUGS.
  3. Discuss how the movements of the HEXBUGS might be related to the characteristics of the different HEXBUGS (such as HEXBUGS with round wheels or feet versus straight legs)
  4. Invite the children to draw ideas for a maze that the HEXBUGS can travel through. You may want to model this process if the children are unfamiliar with drawing up plans.
  5. Based on the children’s plans, invite them to construct one maze using unit blocks on a table.
  6. After they have constructed a maze, ask them to predict how each HEXBUG might get through the maze.
  7. Invite the children to test out their predictions by releasing the HEXBUGS into the maze to find out what will happen.
  8. After testing, invite the children to share their ideas about what occurred and to draw conclusions about how different HEXBUGS move through the maze.

Step 4: Vocabulary.

  • Characteristic: A feature or attribute of an object
  • Predict: To guess what might happen next
  • Conclude: To make statements about what was learned after an observation or an experiment

Early Science Glossary

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Not yet have the fine-motor control to make maze plans
  • Be interested in how the HEXBUG moves on the floor
Child care providers may:
  • Create simple mazes with the children in the moment instead of using drawn-up plans
  • Invite the children to explore the HEXBUG movements in a more open-ended observation on the floor or a carpet
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
Preschoolers may:
  • Want to test out different maze designs
  • Extend this activity to involve HEXBUGS using different materials
Child care providers may:
  • Save different maze drawings and make conclusions about different mazes in addition to conclusions about different HEXBUG movements
  • Ask the children to brainstorm different ways that they can explore HEXBUGS in the classroom

Suggested Books

  • When I Build with Blocks by Niki Ailing
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
  • Roberto, the Insect Architect by Nina Laden

Music and Movement

Outdoor Connections

  • Observe real bugs outside and make comparisons to the HEXBUGS
  • Take the HEXBUGS outside to test their movements on different outdoor surfaces such as dirt, sand and concrete.

Web Resources

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