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Sparking Creativity: Cubelets in the School Library Makerspace

By: Modular Robotics

As the library media specialist at Avail Academy in Edina, Minnesota, Karen Christensson has been utilizing Cubelets in her makerspace for three years. During each day’s forty-five minute library periods, students participate in different makerspace activities that encourage a hands-on approach to learning and problem-solving. Cubelets are one of the stations offered to all third, fourth, and fifth graders at her school. 

Thanks to the versatility of Cubelets, Mrs. Christensson is able to provide her students with different robot examples to kickstart their creativity. Her students use these examples as jumping-off points for their own robots. 

“The students love to create Cubelets models using their own imaginations and LEGOs,” she says. “I have only shown the students examples of what they can build and let them take off from there.”

“A favorite [Cubelets challenge] in my library is to use as many Cubelets as possible in one build, with as many lights and sounds and LEGOs as possible!” she adds.

Myra Gallardo, another library media specialist, teaches at East Pennsboro Elementary School in Enola, Pennsylvania. She sees a diverse range of students on a daily basis, and has recently started using Cubelets with her kindergarten through fifth-grade students.

Mrs. Gallardo divides her students into groups of two or three, and ensures that each group has access to a tub filled with the three different Cubelets types—SENSE, THINK, and ACT. Depending on the activity they are doing that day, each group might also receive a second or third Battery Cubelet.

Even though she is in the early stages of implementation, Mrs. Gallardo has already observed the impact Cubelets have had on her students. During the initial lessons, which focused on free play and learning about the robots, students were excited and engaged. Subsequent lessons introduced challenges such as creating slow and fast robots, making robots perform wheelies, and even crafting animal-like creations using Cubelets. For more ideas like these, educators can check out the Cubelets Activity Cards.

“I think Cubelets give students confidence and pride,” Mrs. Gallardo says. “School is hard for some students, and the joy and pride when they build with Cubelets makes them excited for their accomplishments.” Learning to celebrate one’s own accomplishments in any school environment drastically improves learning outcomes for students across subject areas. Cubelets can be the launchpad for academic curiosity and confidence.

One of the positive aspects of Cubelets, according to Mrs. Gallardo, is their accessibility. “From kindergarten to fifth grade, from special needs to gifted, all students have success and fun building with Cubelets,” she says. This is one of the traits that make Cubelets stand out in the EdTech marketplace. Cubelets can truly be used by every single student in a meaningful and enriching way. Educators who want to know more about how to adapt the Cubelets curriculum for additional accessibility can check out the DeBug’d curriculum, available here.

Another advantage of Cubelets is the autonomy they give students. Back at Avail Academy in Minnesota, Ms. Christensson recalls how two fourth-grade students used an iPad loaded with the Cubelets app to teach themselves how to remotely control their Cubelets robot. This is a testament to the power of exploration and self-directed discovery that Cubelets enable. (Little did these students know that behind the power of Remote Control lies the ability to Read Your Robot when you want to learn more about how data moves within your robot system!). 

As for what she’s learned from using Cubelets, Mrs. Christensson says, “I learned to relax when giving the Cubelets to the kids to play with. It was surprising to me how innovative they could be using a small case of Cubelets.”

Mrs. Gallardo has learned that Cubelets are a great option for makerspace play. Students “create and laugh and want to show the world their cool construction,” she says. 

She also notes that Cubelets have universal appeal for her students, and says, “No unhappy customers on days when Cubelets are out!”

As Mrs. Gallardo continues to integrate Cubelets into her curriculum, she looks forward to facilitating further opportunities for exploration, creativity, and learning among her students. Meanwhile, Ms. Christensson finds it rewarding to watch students unlock their creative potential and showcase their ingenuity with Cubelets. 

With Cubelets leading the way, the future of education is bright, innovative, and full of endless possibilities.

Photos provided by Mrs. Myra Gallardo.

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