Initiating the Excursion
This excursion relies on previous experience with understanding the
basic concepts of navigating paths. These concepts were introduced in
the three prior ladybug activities.
A Maze of Fun Activity Sheet
To introduce this excursion, make an overhead copy of the A Maze of Fun Activity Sheet. Place the first page of the A Maze of Fun Activity Sheet
on the overhead and use a marker to indicate the starting point. Place
another marker on the ending point. Ask the students to describe a
simple path from the starting point to the ending point. As they orally
describe their paths, the students should state movements using the
following terms: move forward, move backward, turn right and turn left.
Provide the class with a set number of forward and/or backward
movements that must be used when developing the solution. Be sure to
have students tell you which angle to use when making the turns.
Next distribute the A Maze of Fun Activity Sheet
to each student. Have them complete the path that was just described on
the overhead. Use the overhead to give the directions again and have
each student complete the activity sheet as you are describing the
Now students will need the second page, Create a Maze, of the A Maze of Fun Activity Sheet.
Explain that you are hiding a marker somewhere in the maze. They are to
navigate the path, according to the directions you give, to find the
hidden marker. Illustrate their directions on the overhead to see if
they completed the correct path without crossing the walls. You may
choose to do this a few times, changing the ending point each time.
Students may use a different color crayon to mark the new path each
time you try this, while continuing to use the same handout.
Developing the Excursion
Creating a plan to move the ladybug through a maze offers different
challenges that are more difficult than those in the previous three
activities. Students must develop a plan, which will turn the ladybug
at the appropriate corners and keep it on the path without crossing the
walls. By creating these navigational plans, students apply strategies
learned in the previous activities.
If this is the first time your students have used this applit, you
should 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).
To introduce the activity, place students in teams and have them open the Ladybug Mazes Applet.
Working together, partners share the responsibilities 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 they have opened the applet, the partners should work
together to navigate the maze and find as many solutions as possible.
Encourage students to explore several mazes and modify their solutions.
They can alter just one step in their plan or develop an entirely new
set of directions each time a maze is explored. After students have had
the opportunity to explore the mazes, lead a class-wide discussion
using the following questions.
Once the students have experimented with the ladybug maze, they will need the "Create A Maze" portion of the A Maze of Fun Activity Sheet.
Ask students to create a maze, give it to a partner, and discuss with
that partner why they think their maze is easy or challenging. Consider
using the guiding questions found in the Questions for Students section below to encourage student reflection.
The closing should be structured so that students can review and
pull together what they have learned. Include questions or tasks that
encourage students to reflect on their work. In so doing, they will
consolidate what they have learned. Furthermore, this will provide an
opportunity for you and the students to assess what they have learned
and what they still want or need to understand. This will give you
ideas for further instruction.