Jeannine Freeman is the Instructional Technology Specialist at Fort Sam Houston Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas. Jeannine is the founder of the Area XX Partnership for Digital Learning, which meets to share ideas and collaborate on the focus of instructional technology. For more information about the topics discussed in this article, visit www.TechTimeWithJ9.com or follow Jeannine on Twitter at @TechTimeWithJ9.
Cubetto is an amazing tool for teaching children about programming, and many teachers have already integrated it into their computing classes. If you are an educator curious about using Cubetto in the classroom, one question that’s bound to come up is: How can you merge Cubetto with your curriculum to reinforce what you are already teaching? It’s not as hard as you might think.
Think of a topic that you are covering in class, such as words that teach the short ‘a’ sound in phonics. A typical activity you may have your students practise is to match pictures with words that have the short ‘a’ sound. With Cubetto, you can make a word map and cards and guide the children in using Cubetto to do the matching for them.
For example, create a 1×1-metre square map comprised of images of words featuring the short ‘a’ sound (rat, can, ham, and so on). Direct students to draw a card from a stack of the corresponding short ‘a’ words. Students will then program Cubetto to go to the picture that matches the word.
Endless possibilities for learning
Want to make it more difficult? Require students to use a certain number of commands in their program. You could also place a coloured dot on selected pictures and instruct students to program Cubetto to pass over them on the way to its final destination. This forces students to use a more indirect route when programming.
Other ideas for curriculum-based maps are:
- Shapes with attributes
- Maths facts
- Beginning sounds
- Capital letters with lowercase letters
- Vocabulary with definitions
- Coins with money totals
- Parts of speech
- Historical figures with descriptions
The list could go on forever. Do you have other ideas? Share your ideas and see what other Cubetto users have created on this site I have set up for the purpose.
Making your own maps is easy. I’ve created a publisher template and card downloads to get started. (Note that the publisher template works with MS operating systems. You can download the Cubetto map template in PDF format here.) Compiling the activity is easy. Add a picture and a word to each page, then save as a PDF. Print each page in actual size on to cardstock or other durable material. Cut out the images and words. Lay out the images on a table in the order you want. Connect them using a small piece of sticky tape between each image. Laminate the poster and words and now you have your very own word map! To store your maps, a clothing rack and hangers work well. Put the cards in a bag and hang them from the hanger with the map.
What do kids think about Cubetto?
Kids love using Cubetto! The Fort Sam Houston Elementary School Imagineers are so excited about it that they worked the Cubetto booth at the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference in June of 2017. The Imagineers are an outstanding group of students at the Fort Sam Houston elementary school who love all things ‘maker.’ They are trained on everything in the school’s Makerspace, which is known as the Imaginasium. When teachers need an extra hand in the Imaginasium with students, the Imagineers are called upon! They also present at conferences, serve on panels, and speak with teachers in other districts interested in starting their own makerspaces. They are an amazing group of students and would be happy to video conference with anyone who has questions. Get in touch and share the makerspace knowledge!