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August 28, 2017

Magic Maker Cubes: Building Creativity, Kindness, and Collaboration

By Kriscia Cabral
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    I like to start my first few days of school allowing students to explore their creative side in a variety of ways. I also like to give students a chance to get to know each other while creating a sense of classroom community. I wanted to weave these two concepts together. This is what I came up with:

    A Magic Maker Cube has a different prompt activity on each of its six sides. The person who rolls the cube must perform the activity they have rolled using only a set of prearranged materials.

    The teacher sets the timer, students create, and when the timer goes off, building time is up. Each student then has to share what it is they created and why. This can be a partner share or the teacher can call on volunteers to share with the class.

    This is a great student activity for your first days back to school, but it's fun for any time you’d like to challenge your students to be creative. Here are the steps to make this happen in your classroom:

    Step One: Print Out the Cube

    To use the one I created here just click on the link or the image above, print, and cut out. To create your own set of activities, start with the cube template from Scholastic Teachables and add your prompts to each face of the cube. I thought about printing on cardstock for durability, however, regular copy paper was easier to fold and tape.

    Step Two: Prep Your Materials

    I did this step with a team of teachers who also use the Maker Cubes in their classrooms. Here’s the trick to materials: there really is no right or wrong list of things to put into the bags. Find materials that you can spare and load them up. It's a good idea, however, to include two to three of the following items:

    • Paper clips
    • Rubber bands
    • Popsicle sticks
    • Cotton balls
    • Small square of foil
    • Straws
    • Twist ties
    • Pipe cleaners
    • Tissue paper square
    • *One penny (needed for the catapult activity)

    *I’ve used balloons but some of the littles have a hard time blowing them up.

    Step Three: Prepare Your Students

    To prepare for the awesomeness that this activity is about to become, you’ve got to set your students up for success. Whether you have them partner up or just ask for volunteers, start by showing these slides on a board. This gives students a preview of how the game is played.

    I cover the following:

    • Getting a partner and "magic bag" of materials
    • Looking over the materials
    • Choosing one person to roll first
    • Reading aloud what prompt is showing
    • Performing the activity in a five-minute period (the time can be flexible BUT you don’t want to allow too much time because students start to over think their idea)
    • Putting hands on heads when time is up
    • Sharing creations
    • Offering a kind word (I stop here and talk about ways to show kindness by giving a compliment to their partner's creation.)
    • Switching jobs and repeating

    Depending upon how the materials are used, you can reuse or use what is left for a new creation. I always have the last roll come from me the teacher, and have all students create the catapult. Then we let the partners catapult their penny to see which team can get their penny the furthest.

    Step Four: Enjoy the Show

    As students are creating, I walk around and listen in on conversations. I take pictures and offer advice to those who are struggling with what to do. My goal by the end of this activity is for my students to have accomplished the following:

    • Gotten to know their peers better
    • Stretched their brains by thinking quickly and creatively with no “wrong” way of doing something
    • Used their imagination to create something possible out of oddball items

    The best part about Magic Maker Cubes is that they can be used over and over again. Have students reset the supply bags by putting everything reusable back in the bag. You can then pass it to a colleague to try with their class or save it for a rainy day when you need a quick activity for your students.

    How would you use the Magic Maker Cube in your classroom? I’d love to hear more ways to implement this in the classroom! Please share. Follow my journey through STEM and connecting the community this year on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter!

    Thank you for reading!

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

     

    I like to start my first few days of school allowing students to explore their creative side in a variety of ways. I also like to give students a chance to get to know each other while creating a sense of classroom community. I wanted to weave these two concepts together. This is what I came up with:

    A Magic Maker Cube has a different prompt activity on each of its six sides. The person who rolls the cube must perform the activity they have rolled using only a set of prearranged materials.

    The teacher sets the timer, students create, and when the timer goes off, building time is up. Each student then has to share what it is they created and why. This can be a partner share or the teacher can call on volunteers to share with the class.

    This is a great student activity for your first days back to school, but it's fun for any time you’d like to challenge your students to be creative. Here are the steps to make this happen in your classroom:

    Step One: Print Out the Cube

    To use the one I created here just click on the link or the image above, print, and cut out. To create your own set of activities, start with the cube template from Scholastic Teachables and add your prompts to each face of the cube. I thought about printing on cardstock for durability, however, regular copy paper was easier to fold and tape.

    Step Two: Prep Your Materials

    I did this step with a team of teachers who also use the Maker Cubes in their classrooms. Here’s the trick to materials: there really is no right or wrong list of things to put into the bags. Find materials that you can spare and load them up. It's a good idea, however, to include two to three of the following items:

    • Paper clips
    • Rubber bands
    • Popsicle sticks
    • Cotton balls
    • Small square of foil
    • Straws
    • Twist ties
    • Pipe cleaners
    • Tissue paper square
    • *One penny (needed for the catapult activity)

    *I’ve used balloons but some of the littles have a hard time blowing them up.

    Step Three: Prepare Your Students

    To prepare for the awesomeness that this activity is about to become, you’ve got to set your students up for success. Whether you have them partner up or just ask for volunteers, start by showing these slides on a board. This gives students a preview of how the game is played.

    I cover the following:

    • Getting a partner and "magic bag" of materials
    • Looking over the materials
    • Choosing one person to roll first
    • Reading aloud what prompt is showing
    • Performing the activity in a five-minute period (the time can be flexible BUT you don’t want to allow too much time because students start to over think their idea)
    • Putting hands on heads when time is up
    • Sharing creations
    • Offering a kind word (I stop here and talk about ways to show kindness by giving a compliment to their partner's creation.)
    • Switching jobs and repeating

    Depending upon how the materials are used, you can reuse or use what is left for a new creation. I always have the last roll come from me the teacher, and have all students create the catapult. Then we let the partners catapult their penny to see which team can get their penny the furthest.

    Step Four: Enjoy the Show

    As students are creating, I walk around and listen in on conversations. I take pictures and offer advice to those who are struggling with what to do. My goal by the end of this activity is for my students to have accomplished the following:

    • Gotten to know their peers better
    • Stretched their brains by thinking quickly and creatively with no “wrong” way of doing something
    • Used their imagination to create something possible out of oddball items

    The best part about Magic Maker Cubes is that they can be used over and over again. Have students reset the supply bags by putting everything reusable back in the bag. You can then pass it to a colleague to try with their class or save it for a rainy day when you need a quick activity for your students.

    How would you use the Magic Maker Cube in your classroom? I’d love to hear more ways to implement this in the classroom! Please share. Follow my journey through STEM and connecting the community this year on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter!

    Thank you for reading!

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

     

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