Every now and then, we ask a teacher or educator from around the world to write about their first-hand experience with Cubetto.
In this post, we hear from Roksana Soleimani, a Grade 4 teacher for children in Berne, Switzerland.
“I’ve found that Cubetto is much more than just a coding toy. It’s a great teaching tool in general.
For example, I’ve been using Cubetto as a motivator. My day plan is designed around the curriculum, with a series of fun, educational exercises for the children to complete. If they complete these, they get to do an extra task that’s ‘out of the ordinary’. Because Cubetto is unlike anything else in the classroom, the children have been really keen to try it out, so the playset has become a great reward for hard work.
Cubetto also works really well in free play. In my class, there are 5-minute-breaks set aside for play in the classroom, and during these periods Cubetto has become really popular. We only allow two to four students to play at a time, and we have a system in place to ensure that everyone knows who’s turn it is and there are no arguments.
Most of all though, I’ve discovered that Cubetto can be a great teaching aid to support other subjects and parts of the curriculum from maths and history, to vocab and art. At the same time, there are plenty of opportunities to use Cubetto in child-directed learning.
Take the examples below. I asked my students to come up with different riddles we could solve with the help of Cubetto. In the first example, you can see the children have focused on maths, writing some problems (100 divided by 5; 10 multiplied by 11) and their solutions (20; 110) on random squares of Cubetto’s map. Their fellow students then had to programme Cubetto to get to the problems.
Then, they had to program him again to get to the correct answer. When they arrived at the solution, they could turn the paper over to check if they were correct. I love this exercise because we’re doing three things at once: multiplication, division and coding. Because answers are on the back of the pieces of paper, the children didn’t need to depend on me, the teacher, but could work and learn together in pairs, helping one another.
In the second example, the children created a different riddle for Cubetto: can you find the correct Sinhalese flag?
First, they then had to write the riddle, which meant they could practice their German. Then they had to draw and colour correct and false Sinhalese flags. Once the map was set up, students needed to programme Cubetto to get to the correct flag (as before the solution was on the back of the paper).
By drawing different skills and parts of the curriculum together, it was a really nice opportunity to practice STEAM learning and the students had lots of fun!
This summer I’m going to be teaching first graders, and I’m already planning how I can use Cubetto. One idea I have is to use the playset to help introduce children to the alphabet and words. For this, I’ll need a map, where I’ll put different pictures (e.g. an apple, a banana etc.) or words on.
The task will be something like: “Go to the squares that have an “a” at the beginning”, which would take them to the apple. Another task could be: “Go just to the squares that have 3 syllables.” which would take them to the banana.
What I’m looking forward to – I hope there’s one coming soon – is a ‘clean’, non-illustrated maps that we could draw on directly. A plain, white map with a grid would allow teachers and children to use their creativity to design and create their own maps and worlds and help with more open-ended learning.
Apart from that though I’ve been super impressed. Cubetto can really help bring any part of the curriculum to life, with children coding without realising it.”