Initiating the Excursion
To introduce this excursion, students should experience classroom
navigation activities by drawing simple pictures or diagrams to
represent paths they might walk, such as a path from a table to the
door and later from their classroom to the playground. They can write a
set of directions for a classmate to move around the room, test the
directions, and talk about the results and any modifications that
should be made to their plan. Such activities help students make their
ideas about navigation explicit. Through these experiences, students
use mathematics in understanding space when they say, "Turn right" or
"Go forward eight steps."
Once students understand the basic concepts of navigating paths,
then you can provide a brief overview of the four directional buttons
used to navigate the ladybug at the interactive applet. It is important
for students to understand how clicking each of the buttons affects the
direction of the ladybug. Remember to include movements for left,
right, forward and backward. (See directional figures above). Students
should also review strategies that can be used to help the ladybug turn
corners. Ask them to predict how many corner-turns are required to
equal a "big turn" (90 degrees). Demonstrate that two "small turns" (45
degrees) are required to equal a "big turn".
Make My Path Activity Sheet
Distribute a Make My Path Activity Sheet to each student and have him/her identify the beginning of the path (ladybug)
and ending (leaf).
Ask the students to describe how they could develop a simple
path from the ladybug to the leaf. As they orally describe their paths,
the students should state the movements using the following terms: move forward, move backward, turn right and turn left.
You can provide the class with a set number of forward and/or backward
movements that must be used when developing the solution. After a few
practice paths created by the class, individual students then
illustrate their own ladybug’s route on the Make My Path Activity Sheet Activity Sheet.
Developing the Excursion
After students have had the opportunity to illustrate their ladybug’s path using the Make My Path Activity Sheet, they should visit the Hiding Ladybug E-Example.
Hiding Ladybug E-Example
Working together, partners share the responsibility of "Mouse
Driver" and "Reader/Recorder." The "Reader/Recorder" will read the
directions from the activity sheet and record observations while
guiding the activity. The "Mouse Driver" controls the action of the
mouse and movement on the computer screen, partners should switch roles
until all have moved the ladybug.
Once at the site, students should click on "stand-alone applet" and practice using each of the directional buttons.
Allow time for them to experiment with each button and describe to a partner or the teacher how each button functions.
After the exploration period, read the following narrative to the group.
The ladybug hears someone coming and wants to hide.
Your task is to plan a path that will take the ladybug to a hiding
place under the leaf. Click on the direction buttons to plan a path the
ladybug could take to hide under the leaf. Click on the "Play" button
to see if the path works. The ladybug leaves a trail, so you can see
the connection between the mathematical movement commands and the
Now that the students have experimented with the ladybug applet, distribute another blank copy of the Make My Path Activity Sheet to each member of the class. The objective is to help the ladybug navigate a path to the leaf using a different route. Ask students to compare their first route with the second describing the
similarities and differences.
Pose the Questions for Students, to wrap-up the lesson.