“When I first brought Merge Cubes and the idea of Augmented Reality (AR) to Powhatan, it initially was going to work really well with the older students in third grade and above,” says Mrs. Miller, the educational technology teacher. “They have the ability to maneuver the Merge Cube and an iPad or other AR device at the same time. The Merge Cube allows students to hold the solar system or a labeled beating heart in their hand, or stand next to a life size statue from a famous museum. I ran into problems when I was thinking of ways to use it with Pre-K through second grade due to their smaller stature and having to manipulate all of these things at one time. After coming across the idea of enlarging the Merge Cube and constructing our own giant cubes for Powhatan’s campus, I knew Mr. Funk was my go-to person for this project.”

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Cross-Curricular: Math & Technology

“Mr. Funk (an Upper School math teacher) and I worked together to discuss how this project could work with his eighth grade Geometry class and cover the concepts of scale, proportion, and 3-dimensional shapes. The students were broken into three groups and given a Merge Cube to investigate and measure. They decided what size scale they wanted to use and how large to make their cube. The groups were given cardboard, exacto knives, and rulers, but they had to decide how they wanted to make their net figures and how to accurately construct a perfect cube. All three groups chose a different method, but still ended up with a 6-sided figure. Once their cubes were constructed, the eighth graders began working on enlarging the images of the Merge Cube faces on their computers. Due to their large size, the images needed to match their giant cube’s dimensions and then divided into sections in order to allow for them to be printed. The groups used spray adhesive to apply the images to the correct faces of their giant cubes, and then tested out each side with the iPad to make sure the AR features were working.”

“At the end of the project, we ended up with an 11”, a 12”, and a 14” Merge Cube that can now be used with our youngest students on campus. These cubes will be able to sit on a table, and multiple students can walk around a single cube while exploring their AR experiences on an iPad. Our Pre-K and Kindergarten students will not need to worry about manipulating several things at one time thanks to our eighth grade students and their creative math skills.”

Community

“One of the things I love about our learning community is the way grade levels interact with each other. While the buddy program formally matches younger students with older buddies, there are so many other ways students interact with one another. This project was great because the eighth graders were building the cubes specifically for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and the other Lower School students. There were times when they had to think about — and empathize with — how their little friends would use the cube and, therefore, had to think about how that would impact some of the design elements. I think that is one of the neat things about a PK-8 community.”

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