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Ladybug Mazes

Carol Midgett
Location: unknown

In this activity, students plan a series of moves that will navigate a ladybug through a maze. Their plans turn the ladybug at the appropriate corners and keep it on a path without crossing the walls. This activity helps students gain experience in estimating length and angle measures.

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.

pdficonA 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 path.

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 applet, 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).

603 move backward
move backward  
 603 move forward
move forward  
4013 45 degrees
45 degree
603 90 degree
90 degree

To introduce the activity, place students in teams and have them open the Ladybug Mazes Applet.

appicon  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.


An extension to this activity would be for one student to create a maze using the Create A Maze portion of the A Maze of Fun Activity Sheet and then orally describe the path to a partner. The partner would then try to duplicate this path using his marker to discover the hiding place. This could also be used as a homework activity by having students take the activity home and create paths with their family members.

Questions for Students

  1. Did you have a "picture" in your head of how the ladybug should travel through the maze?
  2. Which movements did you use the most?
  3. Was this harder or easier than you thought?
  4. If you walked the same path here in the classroom, starting at the teacher's desk, where would you end?

Designing a Virtual Path

In this activity, students use their knowledge of number, measurement and geometry to design a "virtual path" which enables a ladybug to hide under a leaf. They also develop navigational skills by testing to see if their path is accurate and revising their solutions.
MakingRectangles ICON

Making Rectangles

In this activity, students use their knowledge of number, measurement and geometry to plan the steps necessary for a ladybug to draw rectangles of different sizes. As they experiment, students begin to understand the relationship between the shape of a rectangle and the lengths of its sides. They also develop a sense of the amount of turn in a right angle.
MakingTriangles ICON

Making Triangles

In this activity, students use 45- and 90-degree angles to create triangles, and develop an understanding of the relationship between angles and the shape of triangle. Students use their knowledge of number, measurement and geometry to design a "virtual path" using two different angles to help a ladybug reach its hiding place under a leaf.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Use orientation, direction and measurement concepts in planning paths.
  • Plan a series of moves that will navigate a ladybug through a maze.

NCTM Standards and Expectations

  • Describe, name, and interpret relative positions in space and apply ideas about relative position.
  • Describe, name, and interpret direction and distance in navigating space and apply ideas about direction and distance.

Common Core State Standards – Mathematics

-Kindergarten, Geometry

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.G.A.1
    Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.

-Kindergarten, Geometry

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.G.B.4
    Analyze and compare two- and three-dimensional shapes, in different sizes and orientations, using informal language to describe their similarities, differences, parts (e.g., number of sides and vertices/''corners'') and other attributes (e.g., having sides of equal length).

Grade 2, Measurement & Data

  • CCSS.Math.Content.2.MD.A.3
    Estimate lengths using units of inches, feet, centimeters, and meters.