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The Marvelous Merge Cube in the Classroom

Do you have a Merge Cube?  What are you waiting for????  Need a Merge Cube Lesson Plan?


Merge Cubes are one of the hottest new trends in Educational Technology at the moment.  Integrating AR/VR principles, a merge cube allows you to hold a hologram IN YOUR HAND!!  The Merge Cube is basically a Augmented Reality trigger.  Each side of the cube has a distinct pattern which is recognized by the Merge Cube suite of apps.


When a Merge Cube app is launched and you aim your digital device at the cube........TA DAAAAA!

You can hold a skull in your hand:



Explore the Solar System:




You can dig like a Minecraft explorer:


You can squeeze cheese, explore the solar system, study human anatomy aaaaaand so much more!!  These features can be viewed through VR googles to enhance the experience as well.

If you DO own a Merge Cube, congratulations!!  I know that I loaded up when I saw them on sale at Walmart for $1 (that's right, $1!!).


and in case you need it, here's a printable Merge Cube:


Loading up on Merge Cubes was one thing, but launching them in the classroom to provide a MEANINGFUL learning experience was another!  Sure they're cool, but HOW can I integrate them??

Let's begin by exploring the PLETHORA  (and growing list) of apps that work with Merge Cube.  At last count, there were 27!! See the list here

Introducing Merge Cube to My Students


When the stack of Mergecubes showed up in my classroom, they definitely caused a stir.

"Is that the illuminati symbol?"
"Can I touch it?"
"Oooooo it's spongy!"
"What's that for?"
"When are we going to use that?!?"

My favorite was a student that asked me EVERYDAY when we were going to use it saying,

"This is the first time I've EVER been 
excited about coming to school!"

Oh the drama of a sixth grader...🙄

THREE Merge Cube Lesson Plans!!


Get this lesson! 
 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Merge-Cube-Lesson-Plan-Evidence-Based-Writing-3710974
The writing lesson was the first one I tried.  Here's how I did it:

Objective:  Students will be able to write sentences that explain evidence using transitional phrases instead of the word because.

Standards:

Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons.

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
Body of the Lesson:

  • Distribute Merge Cube Lesson Plan "The Power of Because".  Teach the concept of being a writer that explains evidence in a sophisticated way.  
  • Explain what the Merge Cube is
  • Show the MAIN features of the DIG App and tell students what it is used for.  Discuss the building components and do a small demonstration for the class.  
  • Have students prototype a design that they intend on building on the Merge Cube.
  • When the prototypes are finished, allow for building time.

(The learning curve is very flat.  For the most part, my students took to the building platform right away with very few questions.)

  • After the building time, regroup.  Share/explain student builds (if time allows)
  • Students will consider HOW their dig design turned out.  Invariably, it is different from the build that they conceived in their prototype.  
  • Have students identify 6 elements of their build and EXPLAIN why they turned out that way using the "beyond because" writing stems that they've been provided.

i.e. 
My fence didn't turn out as tall as I wanted due to the fact that I ran out of time. 
I built an enormous lake in the center of the field as a result of the blue cubes in the builder's components.
Reflection

Undoubtedly, students were excited and engaged.  There was an intense focus and silence for the time period in which they were building in the Merge Cube.  There were also a few moments of frustration when what they visualized was NOT the same as what they were able to create.  This was a manageable level of frustration and was something that I anticipated for it allowed a greater depth of evidence to write about in response to the question "Why did your DIG turn out the way it did." Students were given space to explain what went right (and wrong!) Especially when I called 'time' when they've continued building for the next hour given the chance.!!!!

So I recommend giving this a try.  If you do, you'll be:






STEM Project: Shamrock Circuit!

Certainly circuits seem intimidating at first, but honestly with a little patience and the right materials you can learn how to create a circuit and launch creative STEM learning experiences into your classroom!



I am presently working with my school librarian to set up a MakerSpace for my school and it is definitely QUITE a project.  Harvesting donations, acquiring storage space, establishing a vision, securing and funding supplies/materials and many other tasks loom large on my MakerSpace 'to do' list.

Convinced I would NOT become overwhelmed (I teach ELA and social studies too...😳), I decided to start small by creating a monthly STEM challenge.

Each month, a STEM challenge box will be waiting for students in the MakerSpace area in the library.  Students are invited to tackle the challenge.  Successful students must submit a reflection sheet:



Once students complete the project and submit their reflection sheet, they earn the monthly MakerSpace Challenge badge and have their name listed on the wall of fame!!

Badge created with http://www.onlinebadgemaker.com/



With rosey cheeks (enhanced by LEDs) and a cute little grin, I'm confident this lucky charmer will win my students over!

The whole concept of circuits was a bit intimidating to me at first, but the web is filled with valuable resources to make circuitry projects approachable for virtually ANYONE!  Some of the best resources I canvased to make this project were:  Makerspaces, MakeSparkFun and Instructables.

Each site provides excellent FREE printables, downloadable materials and instructions to get yourself launched into the world of the paper circuit.

My version of a paper circuit is this Shamrock circuit and it is a GREAT way to bring a robust STEM learning experience into your classroom!


Get the template here!!

Materials Needed:

1 Shamrock template sheet 
<--click get="" p="" to="" yours=""><----download br="" here="" yours="">●1 coin battery
●Copper Tape with conductive adhesive
●2 LED lights (Light Emitting Diode)
●Regular Adhesive Tape
●Scissors
●Binder Clip
●Reflection Sheet
●Markers/colored pencils for added decoration

Directions:

  • Establish a parallel circuit by adhering the copper tape from the battery resting place along the guidelines on the template
  • Punch through 2 LED lights to form the 'cheeks'
  • Spread the LED terminals so that the longer one touches the + side and the shorter one touches the - side.  Tape in place.
  • Place battery + side up on the marked location
  • Fold corner along the foldline to connect the copper to the battery and clip with a binder clip to secure.
  • Decorate.
Want more?   




Certainly circuits are worth trying, as long as you're:

✨Using Your Smarticles✨

Need materials?  Here are my Amazon affiliate links:

Copper Tape:

Bullet Face Copper Foil Tape with Double-sided Conductive (1/4inch X 21.8yards)- EMI Shielding,Stained Glass,Soldering,Electrical Repairs,Slug Repellent,Paper Circuits,Grounding (1/4inch)

LED:

LED Diode, CO RODE 3mm 5mm LED Lights Emitting Diodes Assorted Clear Bulbs Kit with (White Red Blue Green Yellow, 300-Pack)


Nickel Batteries:

50 Pack 3V High capacity Lithium Button Coin Cell Batteries CR2032 DL2032 ECR2032 GPCR2032 Used in most electronic devices

Students Love Memes....and I Meme it!

Stickers, I fear, are rapidly becoming an archaic remnant from the instructional past.  As classrooms turn towards 1-1 computers with digitized projects and assignments, we've lost opportunities to adhere colorful little circles of support on student work. 

What is a Meme?
An internet meme is essentially a piece of digital media (often a well known picture or animated picture) that spreads from person to person via the Internet and is typically humorous in nature.

If you've ever tried the the review game Quizzizz or spent ANY time lurking around the social media sites that are popular with students, you know that the iGen set LOVES Memes! (Quizzizz is a review game similar to Quizlet Live or Kahoot that challenges students to answer questions and rewards their success/or chides the lack thereof, with clever memes)

Here are Some Memes that I Created:



https://drive.google.com/open?id=0By3P8H3oW56uZGx3V0t3SHF2UVE
So Here's an Idea!!!  (I Probably Deserve a Sticker for This...)

What I have found is that student submissions that occur digitally, don't get the impact of personalization that a sticker and/or handwritten notes used to provide, so I started uploading digital memes in the form of feedback onto digital assignments (with the requisite corny pun) and my students LOVE them.

There are MANY meme-making sites that you can use.  I used ImageChef and Canva for the ones I created.  



Once my arsenal of memes was built, I simply reviewed student work that was submitted on Google Classroom and adhered (inserted) a meme image right onto the document along with my grading rubric, comments, etc.

.....and next time we did a digital assignment....THEY ASKED IF I WAS DOING MEMES AGAIN!!!

It's obvious who'd been