Differentiated Strategy 101: Cubing a Lesson

Barbara Ewing Cockroft, M.Ed. NBCT, presenter
Visit: http://www.cdeducation.org/ocea/handouts/39%20%20Differentiation%20Strategy%20101-%20Cubing%20a%20Lesson/
For more activities and lessons using cubing
“Be not afraid of going slowly. Be only afraid of
standing still.”
-Bertie Kingore
What Is Cubing?
A technique that helps students
consider a subject from six
points of view
Different commands or tasks
appear on each side of a cube
What Is Cubing? (continued)
Cubes may vary with commands or
tasks appropriate to the level of
readiness of the group.
 Cubes may also be constructed with
tasks relating to different areas of
intelligence, such as verbal/linguistic or
What Is Cubing? (continued)
In its most sophisticated form,
it is a technique that helps
students think at different
levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.
Cubing Tied to Bloom’s Taxonomy
1. Knowledge
Recall: What is this about?
How many elements are present?
3. Application
Transfer: Use the information to predict.
5. Synthesis
Combining: Change to a new
Understanding: Why did this
4. Analysis
6. Evaluation
Rating: Rank solutions in
priority order.
Examples of Cubing Statements
Describe It. Look at the subject closely, perhaps
with your physical senses as well as your mind.
 Compare It. What is it similar to? What is it
different from?
 Associate It. What does it make you think of?
What comes to your mind when you think of it?
People? Places? Things? Feelings? Let your
mind go and see what feelings you have for the
Examples of Cubing Statements (continued)
Analyze It. Tell how it is made. What
are its traits and attributes?
 Apply It. Tell what you can do with it.
How can it be used?
 Argue For or Against It. Take a stance.
Use any kind of reasoning you want:
logical, silly, anywhere in between.
Why Do We Use Cubes?
To differentiate learning by readiness
(familiarity with content or skill
 To differentiate learning by interest
Why We Use Cubes
To differentiate learning by
student learning profile (visual,
auditory, kinesthetic; multiple
 To add an element of novelty to
classroom instruction
Getting Started
Step 1. Identify the general concepts, skills and
content, aligned with the state standards, that
will be the focus of the activity as it pertains to
different learners.
What do you want your students to know,
understand, and be able to do?
Getting Started (continued)
Step 2. Provide extended opportunities,
materials, and learning situations that are
appropriate for a wide range of readiness,
interests, and learning styles.
Does what you are teaching align with your
short and long-term goals?
Getting Started, continued
Step 3. Pre-assess student readiness,
interest, or learning style!
Group students according to their readiness,
with different colored cubes or task cards that
match students’ level of understanding and
ability level.
Getting Started (continued)
Step 4. Make sure the students
understand the verbs and directions for
each task.
Offer choices!
Getting Started (continued)
Step 5. Students complete the tasks
according to the directions.
 Allow sufficient time.
 Ask one or two students from each group to
share their group’s findings/project/task with
the class.
Helpful Hints:
Design the task cards to look basically
the same among all of the groups.
 Use the cubing technique sparingly, so
that the novelty does not wear off.
 Coordinate cubing activities with other
teachers if you are in a team-teaching
Helpful Hints (continued)
Use colored paper to indicate various
interests or learning styles (not
readiness-based grouping).
Students begin by sitting with other
students using cubes of the same color.
Helpful Hints (continued)
If the first roll is an activity that the
student does not want to do, a second
roll is allowed.
After students have worked on their
activity individually, have them come
together in groups to synthesize.
Variations on Cubing
1. Number the list of tasks to be
completed. Roll the die to select the
item on the list to complete.
2. Write each task on a tongue
depressor and let students select one.
Variations (continued)
3. Incorporate learning styles in the cubed
activity, such as visual/spatial;
bodily/kinesthetic, etc.
4. Design a cube for reading nonfiction (Who?
What? When? Where? Why? How?);
especially powerful in content areas.
Helpful Tools
Knowledge - factual answers,
recognition, testing recall
Process Words: who, how why, what, tell, know,
where, name, label, omit, when, list, define,
select, choose, specify, match, record, identify,
numerate, describe, recount, memorize, recall
Products/Outcomes: list, definition, recitation,
lecture, worksheet, chart, facts
Comprehension - translating,
interpreting, extrapolating
Process Words: cite, tell, infer, report, show, explain,
identify, locate, discuss, classify, describe, indicate,
translate, recognize, summarize, paraphrase
Products/Outcomes: summary, discussion,
explanation, report, review, puzzle, game, lesson
Application - to situations that are new,
unfamiliar, or have a new slant; apply rules,
laws methods, theories
Process Words: use, solve, select, teach, show,
collect, relate, explain, transfer, exhibit, predict,
informs, practice, classify, compute, illustrate,
determine, produce, establish, develop, simulate,
experiment, demonstrate, discover, dramatize
Products/Outcomes: map, model, diagram,
illustration, interview, experiment, drawing,
collection, chart, timeline, mobile
Analysis - breaking down into parts, forms identifying
motives or causes, making inferences, finding
evidence to support generalizations; clarifying,
Process Words: probe, survey, dissect, outline, contrast,
identify, compare, examine, discover, organize, correlate,
illustrate, prioritize, combine, separate, diagram,
differentiate, distinguish, categorize, investigate, subdivide
Products/Outcomes: graph, diagram, survey, questionnaire,
plan, research paper, outline, attributes, goals/objectives,
chart, mind map
Synthesis - combining elements into a
pattern not clearly there before, ability to
put parts together to form a new whole
Process Words: make, plan, adapt, invent, create,
develop, translate, design, initiate, generate, make up,
compose, propose, predict, integrate, originate, rearrange,
assemble, collaborate, categorize, hypothesize, formulate,
Products/Outcomes: song, play, newspaper, film, mural,
story, advertisement, poem, invention, formula, solution,
art product
Evaluation - evaluate according to some set of
criteria and state why; ability to judge value
for purpose; judging the value of something
Process Words: rate, judge, revise, choose, critique, defend,
justify, decide, assess, contrast, support, compare, criticize,
support, validate, determine, recommend, appraise,
conclude, interpret
Products/Outcomes: panel, discussion, judgment,
evaluation, opinion, editorial, verdict, rating scale, debate,
court trial, ranking
Examples (refer to this website:
Grade 3 Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes task card
Grades 6-8 Task cards to correspond to The
Outsiders (easy and difficult readiness levels)
Grades 6-8 Revising cube (easy and difficult
readiness levels)
Grade 10 Stereotyping (English or Social Studies)
Social Studies Level 1
For a blank template of a cube, visit: http://www.cdeducation.org/ocea/handouts/39%20-%20Differentiation%20Strategy%20101-%20Cubing%20a%20Lesson