Introduction: The Most Magnificent Maze
After several small group times in pre-kindergarten classroom, where the children got to explore the idea of “HEXBUG,” small mechanical robotic bugs, alongside blocks and other materials in the classroom, the children were presented with the challenge of making a maze for the HEXBUG to navigate towards a decided upon location. The children decided that wood will be the best material to create a maze. The children worked collaboratively to create the maze by using different size pieces of wood to “bring the HEXBUG home.” They were challenged on how to control the movement and direction of the HEXBUG without touching them.
- Square wooden board with frame
- Wooden pieces
- Wood glue
- Motion by Darlene R. Stille
- STUCK! By Oliver Jeffer
- What do you do with an idea? By Kobi Yamada
- The Most Magnificent Thing By Ashley Spires
Step 1: Prior Knowledge/prior Experience
We discussed about “maze” during our large group time. We also have wooden mazes for the children to explore, as well as having different versions of paper mazes for the children to try on at the writing center.
Step 2: The Engineering Design Process (EDP)
The children were able to follow the Engineering Design Process to solve the problem. First, they decided the location of the “home” for the bugs, and then they brainstormed solutions, and created a plan. After that, the children began to build the maze together. When they finished, we put it out for a test and they noticed that the bugs keep getting stuck on some spots, so the children revised their maze to make it better. When the maze was finished, after several revisions, the children shared their progress in the large group on how they solved the problem and named it “The Most Magnificent Maze”
Step 3: Standards
Science & Technology/Engineering Standards
PS2. Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
PreK-PS2-1(MA). Using evidence, discuss ideas about what is making something move the way it does and how some movements can be controlled.
PK.MD.MA.1 A. Describe and compare measurable attributes.
1. Recognize the attributes of length, area, weight, and capacity of everyday objects using appropriate vocabulary (e.g., long, short, tall, heavy, light, big, small, wide, narrow).
English Language Arts/Literacy Standards
SL.PK.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners during daily routines and play.
SL.PK.1.a Observe and use appropriate ways of interacting in a group (e.g., taking turns in talking, listening to peers, waiting to speak until another person is finished talking, asking questions and waiting for an answer, gaining the floor in appropriate ways).
SL.PK.5 Create representations of experiences or stories (e.g., drawings, constructions with blocks or other materials, clay models) and explain them to others.
SL.PK.6 Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
History and Social Science Standards
HSS.Pre-K.T1.03 Show willingness to take on responsibilities (e.g., being a helper or a leader).
Step 4: Practices
SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING PRACTICES
1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
2. Developing and using models
3. Planning and carrying out investigations
4. Analyzing and interpreting data
5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
7. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
Step 5: Connections to Non-STEM Disciplines
English Language Arts and Literacy
The children enjoyed listening to stories from the books as a guide for each day and they referred back to one of the books by naming the maze “The most magnificent maze”, one of them had written the name down on a piece of paper to label the maze as well.
The children worked collaboratively and were able to share ideas and help each other out with some encouragements from the teachers throughout the challenge.