Cubing is a technique used by teachers around the country. It can help prepare students for reading or writing activities by having them think about a specific topic on six levels of cognition. It can also be used to focus on building vocabulary.

Cubing can be done on an individual level or as an entire class. Students use a six-sided cube to help them organize and record their thinking.

Steps for Cubing:

1. The teacher should construct a cube for a visual prop. To do this, use a cube template. The sides should be
labeled as follows: Describe it, Compare it, Associate it, Analyze it, Apply it, and Argue for or Against it.

2. The teacher passes out to students a copy of the cube template and the instructions below. Using the cube as a visual prop, the teacher should model the strategy. For example, start with an object such as a “United States map” or something simple students will understand.

Each student should write down their thoughts of the map for each side of the cube. Students should be given no more than a few minutes for each side of the cube.

3. After the class or individual completes the cubing of the map, then students should practice cubing on a concept that is in their sphere of knowledge. Finally, students should use cubing on more difficult concepts to clarify thinking.

It is also be helpful to have students discuss with “elbow partners” what they have written down for each of the six tasks. This will let students know if they are on the right track with their ideas.

Student instructions:

The following are the six sides of the cube. These sides are defined to help you understand exactly what you will be writing about.

Describe it
Consider/visualize the subject in detail and describe what you see-colors, shapes, sizes, memories, etc.

Compare it
To what is it similar? From what is it different?

Associate it
What does it make you think of? You might associate it with similar things, or you can think of different things, times, places, people, etc.

Analyze it
Tell how it is made or how it functions. If you’re not sure, make an educated guess!

Apply it
Tell what you can do with it. How can it be used?

Argue for or Against it
Take a stand. Substantiate your stand with reasons, facts or opinions.

Have fun!

Morgan, R. F., & Richardson, J. S. (2000). Reading to learn in the content area