Monday, January 24, 2011

Mazes...


Ages: This is definitely one for the Big Kids.  Once the maze is built however, Little Kid Scientists will have fun running the ball through the maze.

Materials:  12 x 12" board (we used pine, but particle board might work better), finishing nails, rubber bands, bouncy balls.
The cat is optional, ours isn't as much help as she would like to think!

Procedure:
  • Using a ruler, create a grid on the surface of the board.  Make sure the spaces between the lines are large enough for a bouncy ball to roll through.  This is a great opportunity for Big Kid scientists to practice measuring...they should be doing this step! 
  • At each corner, pound in a nail.  The nails should be secure enough to tug on them with rubber bands, but not so far into the wood that they poke through the back.

It's a lot of nails to get into place.  Connar worked really hard to get his done while I made a maze for Aiden.  Then we discovered why particle board might work better...
The board split in two.  There were too many nails along the grain line of the wood.  Fortunately this happened to me...Connar was working really hard to get all his nails into the board.  Since the wood doesn't need to be pretty, particle board without a grain line, may work better for this project.
  • Once the nails are all in place, it's time to build the maze.  This is where the real thinking happens.  Using rubber bands to create walls and boundaries, build a maze.
  • The mazes are easy to take apart and build again.  Over and over.
  • Connar used the ball while he was creating the maze to check for dead-ends.
I put a maze together for my younger Kid Scientist, Aiden, who solved it very quickly.  I suggested he create a maze for me, one that wasn't as easy as the one I built.  After about 10 minutes he looked at me and said, "Building these is really hard work Mommy!"  This Science Mommy loves it when the thinking is the hard work!
Have fun with your mazes!


 

3 Science Moms have commented...:

Phyllis said...

I have been wanting to do this since I saw it on Ordinary Life Magic. I think my boys will like it.

Patti said...

We've done this with geoboards, but it looks like more fun with nails than the short pegs that are attached to plastic geoboards.

pamela r said...

I think this is a wonderful idel---it reminds me of a minute to win it game =)