Age level: Early Elementary, Upper Elementary
Description: These brightly colored engraved cubes are motivating to many of my students who enjoy visual and art activities. The game comes with 10 design cards and 13 double-sided challenge cards. The cards allow you to level the game to meet your learner’s current skill level as well as grow with your learner. The cubes can be used to engage in a variety of games, but they’re also great for open-ended play.
Skills & Modifications: What I love about Pixy Cubes is they easily allow you to organize materials to teach skills specific to your unique learner. The game comes with rules for three different games. See how the cubes can be used to teach each of the skills listed below.
Also, Pixy Cubes is one of the games I’m giving away this week! Be sure to enter before midnight EST on Wednesday, April 2nd!
Memory – This fun game requires you to divide cubes so all players receive one of each of the four cubes. All players look at one Challenge Card for 10 seconds. Then the card is removed or turned over. The first player to finish recreating the design and shout out “Pixy” wins that round and gets to keep the card. When playing Memory, for some learners I turn the card over so they can refer to the card for hints. For others I remove the card entirely. (The front and back of a card is pictured below.)
Orientation – For learners who struggle with recognizing orientation in pictues, this can be a fun way to practice the skill. It’s useful to use challenge cards so the learner is only working on the orientation for four cubes, then build up to more by either creating your own cards using 4-12 cubes or using the design cards that utilize 16 cubes.
Listening/Recognizing left and right/Prepositions – For some learners who are highly motivated by the cubes, I’ll use them for a listening activity. I will provide a set of four cubes for me and a second set of four cubes for the learner. I’ll create a pattern behind a partition (such as a folder standing up between the two of us on the table) then describe it for the learner to recreate. For example, I might say “The cube that is completely green is to the left of the red and yellow cube.” The instructions grow in complexity based on the unique needs of your learner. You can also trade turns and have the learner describe their design for you to recreate.
Imitation/Block Imitation – This is a fun way to work on high-level block imitation. You can do standard block imitation work such as matching the cubes directly to the challenge cards or building pictures based on the challenge cards.
Symmetry – These cubes can also be used as an extension activity after a symmetry lesson. Place 1 or more cubes in front of the student and have them add cubes to create a symmetrical image. I like to use this for generalization of symmetry, especially for my learners who struggle with drawing activities related to symmetry.
Playing with Speed – The memory game described above requires speed, but there are also instructions for a Speed Game included. Each player receives one of each of the four cubes, then a challenge card is placed in the center. The first player to complete the pattern and call out “Pixy!” wins the round and gets to keep the card. You can choose to set a specific number of cards needed to win the game, or set a timer and the person with the most cards when the timer goes off wins the game.
Peer Play – For my learners who are highly motivated by visual materials, this is a great option for peer play. It doesn’t require learners to take turns, but allows them to engage in play with siblings or peers in a fun way.
Independent Play – For one learner, we have added Pixy Cubes to his activity schedule. He can choose to play independently by picking a Design Card, with the activity being completed once he completes a set number of desings; or he can choose to invite a sibling or parent to play Memory or Speed with him.
Scanning – If your learner struggles with scanning this may be too difficult for him/her. However, I like using this game to strengthen scanning skills for learners how have mastered scanning in a flat field (pictures or items face up) because this game requires them to scan ALL sides of each cube. They must pick up the cubes and carefully scan in order to complete the tasks involved in playing the game.
Pros: This is a great game for teachers because there are so many different activities you an do with the cubes and cards. It’s relatively easy to differentiate based on your students’ needs and I really love that they can be used for independent activities as well as peer play.
Cons: No cons for this game! It’s a great price and allows you to engage in a multitude of activities.
Ideas for extending the lesson: Have learners create their own patterns and photograph them. You can also challenge learners to create designs within specific parameters, such as creating a design that uses every color except yellow or creating a design that resembles a common object.
Cost: $15.99 You should invest in this game if: you have a learner who is highly motivated by visual perceptions tasks and games, you are seeking unique materials for imitation and memory skills, or you have a learner who is motivated by patterns or color.
ABLLS: A19, B9, B12, B20, C51, K15
VB-MAPP: VP-MTS 11, VP-MTS 13
Pixy Cubes was provided to me for free by the company Blue Orange to write about here. This did not influence my opinions on the game. The thoughts and ideas above are all my own.