If you haven’t heard of Merge Cubes, then I think you may have been living under a rock for the past few years! If you want a class set of Merge Cubes and a free subscription, stay tuned until the end of this post!
Three years ago my technology coach came to me with a Merge Cube in her hand. She was so excited to show me this new augmented reality cube to use in my science classroom. All you need is a cube and the app! The app reads the code on the cube and creates augmented reality through your phone. The other 2 science teachers and I all freaked out when she showed us! We could hold the entire solar system and a human brain in our hand! The possibilities of showing our students things in science that are so hard to visualize became endless. At that time, the cubes were $1 at Walmart. I called my mom after school and she went and bought all the Merge Cubes at 3 Walmarts!!
Unfortunately Merge Cubes are not $1 any more, but I have a secret for you!! Did you know you can print out a Merge Cube from home and make your own with just scissors and glue?! That’s right…FREE! Visit this site: mergecube.com/paper.
We all know that this school year is going to be unlike any other. In a socially distanced classroom, you can still use a normal foam Merge Cube. They can be wiped down with a sanitizing wipe and are good to go! I will not be using my class set of foam Merge Cubes this year. Instead, I am going to make a paper copy of the Merge Cube and have every student create their own. This makes for less interaction between students and they only touch their cube!
I know many teachers are starting off the school year with complete virtual classrooms. You can still use Merge Cubes virtually this school year. In the spring when I was all digital, I used a Merge Cube over a Google Meet with my students to show them the water cycle. I did this by printing off a cube at home because of course I didn’t think to grab one from my classroom before I was locked out for the rest of the year! I also had two devices logged in to my Google Meet with my students. I had my laptop logged in so I could see everyone in the meeting. I then joined on my phone so I could use the Merge Explorer app during the meeting. I shared my phone screen with the students and then opened up the Merge Explorer app! The students were then able to see exactly what I saw through my phone, which was the augmented reality water cycle. We then discussed what they saw and each part of the water cycle that was represented. My students were SO impressed with the Merge Cube that they were asking where they could get one, what the name of the app was, and how they could do it at home. I loved their excitement! I shared the Merge Cube pdf to Google Classroom so they could do it while at home. (TIP: I know students don’t have printers, but if they open the app & just hold it up to the PDF of the cube on their computer, the augmented reality still works!!!)
More good news: Many of the topics in the app are free!! Visit TryMerge.com to sign up for a Merge account and unlock the free topic cards! Right now the free ones are: Galactic Explorer, Mr. Body, A Frog’s Life, Water & Weather (the one I used!), the Food Web, Rock History of Earth, About Plants, Types of Reactions, & Transforming Earth. That’s a lot of free options, but there are so many more that you can explore with the paid version. You have the option for either a personal subscription or a school subscription. In my opinion, I wouldn’t buy the personal subscription. We don’t need to pay for things we use in our classrooms! I personally would either use the free ones or ask if my school could pay for the whole school subscription.
Merge is such an amazing tool for interactive science. Are you interested? Visit the Merge Instagram page here for daily giveaways this week. Each day, one person will win a cube and a subscription for a year! Stick around until Friday and you could win a class set!!