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Cubelets Grab Bag
Cubelets aren’t just for computer science. They are creative design and modelings tools, and their many different functions inspire students and teachers alike to make connections to every subject. Cubelets connect to so many different topics – they can help students demonstrate reading comprehension or serve as fodder for excellent short stories. Cubelets can demonstrate math concepts like fractions and averages, and Cubelets mimic animal behaviors and ecosystem interdependence. Did we pique your interest? Check out some of our greatest Cubelets connections in our Grab Bag!
Subject Area Full Lessons
Computer Science Lessons
- Begin class by having students take turns modeling 3-block robot constructions
- Students act out their individual roles and build their common vocabulary
- Begin to introduce THINK Blocks that are relevant to your students and your Cubelets Education Pack
Students will act out the difference between software and hardware to understand how Cubelets send data back and forth between them.
NGSS-Aligned Science Lessons
- Prepare for this challenge by creating groups of Cubelets with different ACT Cubelets
- Students design the most effective information transmission robot using their group’s Cubelets
- Students test their robot constructions and provide feedback to peers
Students will investigate a variety of student-designed information transmission robot constructions.
Subject Area Inspirations
Students design robots that represent specific characters in a text they are reading. Robot constructions can be as simple as a Fraidy-Bot or Cuddle-Bot or much more complicated. What is the character afraid of? What does the character love? What is the most important character trait? The magic comes in students’ explanations of how their robot construction represents the character. Responses could be oral or written.
Students design a robot then write a narrative that includes the robot as either a character or part of the setting. This is a great anchor for fictional narrative writing units. Here are some student resources that could help you or your students.
- Primary Beginning-Middle-End Planning Document
- Intermediate/Middle School Fiction Narrative Planning Document
Students use Cubelets as their experimentation and iterative tool to address a Design Thinking Challenge. Students could also use Cubelets as the improvement challenge to address during the Discovery-Interpretation-Ideation stages.
Prompts for design challenges could include:
Prompts for design challenges could include:
- Race your Cubelets
- Make a Player Piano
- Make a Maze-Solver Robot
- Make a Line-Follower Robot
- Make a robot that can steer with only one Drive Cubelet
- Make a parade float
- Make a Monster Seeker for before going to bed
- Make a robot that can help someone who is visually impaired safely navigate the classroom
Because each Cubelet has its own unique function, Cubelets lend themselves to modeling (or imagining!) animal adaptations. Using a combination of Cubelets, Legos (or other brick building blocks), and craft materials, try giving students an opportunity to represent a real-world animal using Cubelets and then ask them to design an imaginary animal for a new environment. This activity works very well when animals are measured by their ability to “locate food”. Food could be a bright light bulb in a dark room or squares of black tape on a bright-white table (black marker does not work, but black electrical tape and black painters tape do) or boxes on an otherwise empty floor. You could also test the animals by their abilities to avoid predators or potential hazards in their environment. Choose one of these tests, not both!
Cubelets were originally designed to showcase emergent behavior of which there are many examples in the natural world. Some quick examples include ants, bees, termites, birds, and coral reefs. These communities do not have “leaders” to assign roles or tasks to all the others. Instead, each individual within the community follows a few sets of rules and the results of all of the organisms doing their job include intricate ant hills, beehives, and bird flying patterns. Cubelets function in much the same way – each Cubelet only does its own job or function, but when we combine them (the more, the better) the resultant construction exhibits an overall behavior that is different from any individual Cubelet.
One common symptom of extreme weather is a lack of visibility and often a lack of power. Based on whichever Extreme Weather event your class is focusing on, you might ask students to design a robot that can navigate through the darkness to either find people stuck in the storm or guide them out of the storm.
Cubelets can certainly be used to model the flow of energy in a system, but it is important to remember that Cubelets receive their energy from the Battery Cubelet not the SENSE Cubelet, and the transfer between Cubelets is actually due to the movement of data, not electricity. There is a constant electrical flow throughout a Cubelets robot construction. It is unaffected even by a Blocker Cubelet.
Cubelets Lessons Archive
We’re always seeking to find creative, engaging, and educational ways to utilize Cubelets in the classroom. As standards change we sometimes move lesson plans to the archive. They’re always be available so you can jump right into using tiny robots with your students. Use these plans to get informed, inspired, and up-to-speed on using Cubelets in a classroom, museum, maker space, or camp!