In this lesson, the children will observe different HEXBUGS to predict how they might move through a block maze.
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
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
Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers
Step 1: Gather materials.
- HEXBUGS (or similar simple battery-powered machines that move)
- 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.
- During a large-group time, introduce the HEXBUGS
- Ask the children what they know about HEXBUGS and what they might do.
- Write down the children’s ideas on chart paper or a whiteboard.
- Demonstrate how to turn the HEXBUGS on.
- Invite the children to make predictions about how different HEXBUGS might move as they travel on the floor.
- 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.
- In small groups, review what the children recall from the large-group time about how the HEXBUGS move.
- Invite the children to test and observe the movements of two HEXBUGS.
- 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)
- 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.
- Based on the children’s plans, invite them to construct one maze using unit blocks on a table.
- After they have constructed a maze, ask them to predict how each HEXBUG might get through the maze.
- Invite the children to test out their predictions by releasing the HEXBUGS into the maze to find out what will happen.
- 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
Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.
Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
- 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
- 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
- When I Build with Blocks by Niki Ailing
- Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
- Roberto, the Insect Architect by Nina Laden
Music and Movement
- 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.
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