by Jennifer Robb
During my most recent foray into our equipment room, looking for something new and innovative to use with our various student groups, I stumbled across these wonderful robotic cubes called Cubelets. We had used them a couple of times since obtaining them, but it had been awhile… so I took them for a spin to see what they could do!
Cubelets are these amazing, modular robots that epitomize the “low floor, high ceiling” priority of a makerspace. After charging up the power cube, you and your students can get started with these little bots right out of the box! There are three main types of Cubelets: sense (or input) blocks, action (or output) blocks, and think (or processing) blocks.
To get started building your first Cubelets robot, you only need one of each type (including the power cube which is considered a “think” block) – that’s it! Just connect three cubes and you’ve created your first Cubelets robot. And unlike other ‘construct your own’ robot kits, Cubelets are magnetic – meaning they easily snap together and apart, making them great for both younger and older students! Once you’ve tinkered with the basics, try adding additional processing cubes, like the passive (green) and inverter (red) blocks I used to create this awesome Cubelets lighthouse:
Want to take your Cubelets to the next level and challenge your learners? They also offer a variety of apps that enable you to control and code (through Blockly or language-based coding) individual cubes. Check those apps out here, available for both iOS and Android! Their website also features an educator’s hub, packed full of free lessons, activities, and other helpful resources to seamlessly integrate Cubelets into your teaching.
Each kit comes with different types of sense, action, and think blocks – we have the Creative Constructors Pack which features brightness and distance sensors (input), wheels and lights (output), and various processing blocks (including Bluetooth), but check out the different packs to see what would be right for your context!
For more information on this modular robotics system, check out their main website here.