Hexbug Challenge

By Suchira Channoi

Subject: Science, Math
Grade Level: PK
Standards: MA STE, Math & ELA (Common Core)

After exploring the chaotic movements of ‘hexbugs,’ small mechanical robotic bugs, alongside blocks and other materials in the classroom, the children naturally wondered if they could guide the hexbugs to a location.

In this lesson, students are challenged to control the movement and direction of hexbugs without touching them and guide them to a chosen location using materials of their choice.

MA STE, Math & ELA Standards

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.


  1. Describe and compare measurable attributes.
  2. 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.

Just Following Instructions

By Tiffany Davis

Subject: Math, Art, DLCS
Grade Level: 2
Standards: MA STE, DLCS, Art, Math & ELA (Common Core)

Can you program a robot to create a Sol LeWitt-inspired geometric wall drawing?

American artist Sol LeWitt is best known for his instructional wall drawings. A proponent of minimalist, conceptual art, LeWitt famously hired other people to create installations using his written directions. The mathematical nature of LeWitt’s directions, which reference lines, shapes, angles, and patterns make LeWitt’s work a great starting point for STEAM learning.

The title of this project, “Just Following Instructions,” refers to more than LeWitt’s method for creating art. Students not only write mathematically-based instructions for making a drawing, much like LeWitt’s, but also translate those instructions into code that a robot can follow.

STE, Math, ELA & Visual Arts Standards

Grade 2.Geometry A. Reason with shapes and their attributes.

K-2.CT.d.3: Individually or collaboratively, create a simple program using visual instructions or tools that do not require a textual programming language (e.g., “unplugged” programming activities, a block-based programming language).

2.K-2-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same design problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each object performs.

Visual Arts 2.2, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6

ELA, Grade 2 Speaking and Listening Standards [SL] & Language Standards [L]

  • Comprehension and Collaboration
  • Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
  • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use


Subject: Science, Math
Grade Level: 3
Standards:  MA STE, Math & ELA (Common Core)

By Sara Donovan

Canton Outventures is a new outdoor adventure company that is moving to the Blue Hills in Canton.  They want to provide various outdoor activities throughout the year, but they need to know the type of weather to expect each season.

Each group is being hired as consultants to :

  • Predict Canton’s weather (temperature, precipitation) during one season.   
  • Show weather data in a scaled bar graph
  • Create a plan to bring people to the top of Blue Hill in each season
  • Provide Canton OutVentures with the information they need to provide fun, smart, evidence-based decisions for the company and for Canton residents.

STE, Math & ELA Standards 

3-ESS2-1. Use graphs and tables of local weather data to describe and predict typical weather during a particular season in an area.

3.3-5-ETS1-1 – Define a simple design problem that reflects a need or a want.  Include criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost that a potential solution must meet.

3.MD.B 3  Represent and interpret data

Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs.

Grade 3 Speaking and Listening: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 

  1. Report on a topic, text, or solution to a mathematical problem, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace and using appropriate vocabulary. 

Science Practice:  Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Math Practice:  Model with Mathematics