Classroom Innovation

the world's first giant merge cube

The first time I got my hands on a Merge Cube, the creative maker side of my brain lit up. Beyond my obvious initial curiosity around this unique AR tool and the available apps, I wondered how I could push the limits with the cube itself. I started thinking... outside the box... (🙈Sorry, I couldn't resist the easy pun).

Can I make this bigger? Will it still work properly? Can multiple students use one GIANT cube at the same time?

I contacted Merge VR to ensure that it was okay for me to modify and reproduce their product for the purpose of education within my classroom. They loved the idea and even encouraged me to create and share this tutorial video. Thus, the world's first GIANT Merge Cube was born.

The online response was overwhelmingly positive! Teachers around the world began creating their own and finding ways to improve upon my original design. GIANT Merge Cubes began popping up in classrooms and at EdTech conferences around the world.

Check out the global movement here:

"Rise of the GIANT Merge Cube".

Interview with Merge vr

Merge VR heard about the way I was integrating their products (and Augmented Reality in general) into my classroom activities. They were particularly interested in how I was using the Merge Cube to supplement and extend my math curriculum. Admittedly not my most eloquent interview, but I've got a good excuse. It was filmed around midnight on a school night! 😱 Given the time difference between my home in Singapore and their headquarters in Texas, this late-night Skype session was all we could work out. Me the next day: 😴

MERGE cube in math class

Here's a quick video of my 5th grade class using Merge Cubes and a super fun AR app called "Dig!” to study math (available on iOS and Android). The app is somewhat similar in style to Minecraft because users are able to build and destroy structures in a 3D sandbox environment. My students were tasked with building and calculating the volume of composite three-dimensional shapes, each with a different length, width, and height. Augmented Reality helps enhance student engagement and conceptual understanding. Plus, it’s crazy FUN! 🤩

3d design and printing with Merge cube

One of my favorite ways to encourage innovation and to guide students through the Engineering Design Process is to utilize online 3D design and 3D printing. For 3D design, my students use a web-based, user-friendly CAD software called Tinkercad. One of my favorite parts about it is that it's FREE! It works on an iPad, but I highly recommend that students access this website from a notebook or computer that is equipped with a mouse.

If you've dabbled in 3D printing, you know that filament is a precious resource and can be expensive! If students attempt to print their designs without fully examining and analyzing their model, they could find themselves wasting a ton of filament. The Merge Cube offers a fantastic solution to this problem!

Using the FREE app "Object Viewer for Merge Cube" (available on iOS & Android), students can upload their 3D designs from Tinkercad to the Merge Miniverse and view them in the real world using Augmented Reality! Seeing their creations in AR, and having the ability to closely inspect every minute detail, ensured that my students were able to print with confidence.

In this video, students are using Acer Chromebooks and a Makerbot Replicator+. Just this school year we received a new fleet of Ultimaker 2s, so I'm looking forward to making some new videos soon!