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CoSpaces and Merge Cube

A really exciting thing happened recently in the world of MergeCube......CoSpaces just added integration with MergeCube.  Now if I'm speaking Greek to you at the moment, I may need to back up and provide you with a little bit of background, so read on and catch up to speed on these two AMAZING EdTech Tools.  For my other EdTech friends who are already familiar with Merge Cube and CoSpaces, just scroll down to What Can I Do?

What is MergeCube?

Integrating AR/VR principles, a Merge Cube is a small foam device that 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 including CoSpaces! For MORE on the MergeCube visit:

What is CoSpaces?




CoSpaces Edu is an intuitive educational technology enabling students and teachers to easily build their own 3D creations, animate them with code and explore them in Virtual or Augmented Reality.  This tool provides the user with a 3D 'space' that can be modified by adding 360 images as well as 3D elements to create virtual worlds!  CoSpaces recently partnered with Merge Cube to also allow custom CoSpaces creations to be viewed on the Merge Cube.

What Can I Do?

MergeCube/CoSpaces Book Review Project
While I haven't explored ALL of the possibilities, I did do a little dabbling in the new MergeCube/CoSpaces section and came up with a project that I'm VERY excited about!  Here's a video preview:


The idea is that with CoSpaces, you can upload images and position them to appear on each side of the Merge Cube.  My goal with this project is to bring book reviews into the 21st Century.  Essentially students edit a set of Google slides based upon a novel that they’ve read. They then log-in to a CoSpaces account and upload images of the slides and move/position them into place on the Merge Cube. Students can also add a 3D model of a character (or characters) that fit their novel and VOILA you have a student generated book review viewable in 3D on a MergeCube!! 


Take a look at the YouTube Tutorial Here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxUVrimqdkw



MergeCube/Breakout Challenge
Another option is to customize cubes to feature Breakout puzzles or problems to solve in a more interactive way.  With this one I used a set of Google Slides to make a problem 'path' for students to follow.  When all of the problems were solved, they had a 5 digit code which can be used to unlock a lock or a Google Form.  Fun with or without a Breakout Challenge!





To create either of these projects, you’ll need a CoSpaces Pro account and the CoSpaces app on a tablet or phone.   (I managed to obtain a free one month CoSpaces Pro Trial) . To inquire about a CoSpaces account, click here.  You'll also need a Merge Cube!  Here is a little more on the Merge Cube.

Get YOUR Merge Cube here:





Of course you'll also need to be





Engineering Design Process

This is my first year of teaching Science, and after 15 years as a social studies teacher, that's QUITE a change!!

As an advocate and enthusiast of STEM Design, I truly embraced the challenge OF the challenge of using Experimental Design (also known as Engineering Design) for instruction. Not knowing EXACTLY what I was doing when I reached this standard for my sixth graders:

MS-PS1-6 Undertake a design project to construct, test and modify a device that either releases or absorbs thermal energy by chemical processes

I started from scratch; researching Experimental Design expectations, exploring what Bozeman Science had to say on the topic, and eventually establishing my own guide for students to participate in Experimental Design.

Engineering Design ProcessEngineering Design


The infographic above basically establishes the elements that need to be included in any engineering (experimental) design project.  

For my students, I broke this down into more manageable steps and began with a SMALL challenge...the candle, thumbtack and match challenge.  My goal?  To get them to be able to IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM, ESTABLISH CONSTRAINTS and DETERMINE CRITERIA and to develop POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS.

Candle, thumbtacks and match problem
As I introduced my students to this process of Experimental Design I needed them to be able to understand CONSTRAINTS and CRITERIA.  The candle challenge is PERFECT for students to isolate the concepts of establishing the problem, determining the constraints and outlining the criteria for success.   Needless to say, when provided the problem, students EAGERLY engaged in determining a solution.  Here are the guide sheets I gave them along the way:

STEAM Design ProcessSTEM Design Process

I grouped the students and had them work collaboratively towards a solution to the problem of HOW that candle can be fixed to the wall preventing candle wax from dripping onto the table using only the candle, thumbtacks and a box of matches.  They successfully identified the problem, constraints and criteria and eagerly brainstormed solutions but were tormented as I made them wait an extra day to find out the solution.  (he he)


The good news is it WORKED and I successfully provided a scaffold to move forward and provide them with a more rigorous design challenge:  The Marshmallow Tower.  Stay tuned for MORE details on the Marshmallow Tower as we expanded from PROBLEM, CONSTRAINTS, CRITERIA, POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS to DESIGNING, CREATING, ITERATION and OPTIMIZATION and even more on our eventual Chilly Scarecrow Challenge that finally achieved the standard in an amazing way, all while








Thinkin' about Tinkering with Tinkercad!

3D Design and 3D modeling can be intimidating concepts to the unfamiliar educator; they were to me!! I stumbled onto Tinkercad as a tool for student learning after I received a 3D Printer through Donors Chose hoping to create experiences for my learners related to the 3D Printer. Certainly the 3D Printer opened the door to my exploration, but I soon realized


YOU DON'T NEED A 3D PRINTER TO DO 3D DESIGN IN YOUR CLASSROOM

Tinkercad is a really great way to introduce students to redefine their instructional experiences using technology; think the HIGHEST level in the SAMR model for classroom technology integration. With Tinkercad, students are given a building platform and a suite of basic shapes, text and numbers, shape generators and more that allows them to creatively design three dimensional items.  From creating and designing customized keychains to linking together more complicated shapes to create larger items, you'll LOVE the adaptability of Tinkercad and the level of engagement that you'll get from students!

How can I use Tinkercad?


Examples:

  • Have students create artifacts such as a Cuneiform Tablet or an Egyptian Cartouche with their names or initials


  • Have students research an historical monument and design it.  Conduct a gallery walk using Object Viewer on Merge Cube rather than printing the artifacts.

  • Design Molecules in Science class and have students participate in a mystery molecule identification game by sharing their creations.

  • Have students design a symbol that represents a character or theme from a novel that they are reading


What if I have NO Clue what I'm Doing?

Start small and start tinkering yourself!!  Let students learn by doing and you'll be AMAZED at what they can do!