In this STEM challenge, kids will create a Hexbug maze using straws, tape, and posterboard! It’s a super easy STEM activity to set up and gives children the opportunity to plan, build, and problem solve.
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In my most recent science class for first grade and second grade, I gave my students a STEM challenge- to build a maze or set of obstacles for their Hexbugs using straws. It was tons of fun watching all the different ideas they came up with, and I especially loved hearing the kids express their ideas and predict why things worked and didn’t work. The room was just filled with excitement and learning! (This post contains affiliate links.)
If you’ve never heard of Hexbugs, they are basically micro robots that are super fun to play with and provide all kinds of learning experiences. (We used them in this preschool and kindergarten STEM activity.) You can buy them as singles or in sets of five.
STEM Challenge: Build a Hexbug Maze Using Straws
Materials for Hexbug Maze STEM Challenge
Directions for Hexbug Maze STEM Challenge
1. Give each student one sheet of posterboard. (I bought this pack of 25 to use for my class.)
2. Demonstrate how to attach straws to the poster board using tape. Bendy straws (similar to these) were our favorite because they could be angled. I also showed the kids how to cut the straws to whatever lengths they needed.
3. Invite students to work individually, in pairs, or in small groups to create mazes and/or obstacles for their Hexbugs using the provided materials. (I also provided markers for the kids to use to add any details or illustrations to their posterboard. Some kids drew all kinds of scary creatures for their Hexbugs to avoid, while others created gardens and pathways for their Hexbugs to enjoy.)
4. I also had popsicle sticks available for the kids to use for building. We would also use the popsicle sticks to nudge the Hexbugs along if they got stuck.
What the Kids Created
Many kids used the straws to create colorful mazes and paths for their Hexbugs. They set goals of trying to get their Hexbug from one area to another and would adjust their straws as needed to accomplish their goals.
This group created their own battle bot game. They built a game board with two boxes at either end. They’d put all three of their Hexbugs in the center to battle. (They had a whole set of rules they had created to determine which Hexbug was eliminated.) The eliminated Hexbug was placed in one of the boxes as the two remaining Hexbugs continued to compete.
This student cut his poster board to create a whole new shape for his maze.
Not only was this STEM challenge super fun to do together as a class, but it would also make a fun and easy activity to do at home on a rainy day. The kids were busy for 45 minutes and could have easily kept going had our class not ended!
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