Puzzle Cube: Arts Integration Strategy

By |2018-08-30T05:17:10-07:00July 8th, 2014|

Another arts integration strategy is headed your way to help fill your integration toolbox over these summer months.  Today’s strategy is called Puzzle Cube and it’s based upon the idea of a Rubik’s Cube.  Those tricky puzzle cubes have confounded people for decades, but their use of a grid and color blocks makes it a great prompt for an arts integration strategy.

Puzzle Cube, Arts Integration Strategy, Education Closet

Basic Steps:

1. Divide the class into 6 groups.  Each group must have the same amount of students.  If there are remaining students, these will act as your “twisters”.

2. Provide each group with a set of single-colored cards. For instance, group one received yellow cards, group two receives red cards, etc.  There should be enough cards for each student in the group.

3. Provide all students with a problem surrounding a focal topic.  For example, you may provide a math word problem, or a current world crisis.

4. Allow each group time to work together to solve the problem within a set amount of steps.  The amount of steps is dependent upon the amount of students in the group.  For instance, if there are 6 students in a group, they may only document 6 steps to solve the problem.

5. Each student should take one of the steps and write it on their colored card.

6. Provide each group with an arts entry point (drama, dance, music, art).  Two will have the same arts entry point.

7. Ask each group to be able to demonstrate their solution steps on their cards through their arts entry point.

8. Each group then performs or presents their solution sequence cards for the class using their arts entry point.

9. After the first round of presentations/performances is over, the Twisters can select students from any group and move them to another group (effectively twisting the puzzle cubes).

10. Students must work to re-solve the original problem incorporating their new arts cards and solution steps into their group.  Perform or present the new solution sets.

This strategy is very versatile.  If you are working on exploring the elements of a specific art form, each group could be limited to that art’s elements rather than using all of the art forms.  You can use this strategy for exploring any kind of problem or inquiry.  Additionally, your “twisters” could choose to sub-in for any student that they wish to make it even more challenging.  The student they sub-in for then becomes a “twister” instead.

How would you use this strategy?  Are there any others that you have in your toolbox you’d like to share?  Let us know in the comments below!


  1. Susan Riley June 13, 2015 at 9:21 am - Reply

    Thanks for that feedback, Jamey. We are working on creating a series of videos that shows some of our strategies/lessons being implemented and that free series will open towards the end of 2015. In the meantime, what’s confusing you? Happy to help clarify anything you need!

  2. Libby Scandale April 24, 2018 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    I am a University instructor in Integrated Arts and find some of your lessons riveting and powerful and others quite confusing. In the latter group, there would seem to be “steps between the steps” that are omitted, which is a little like trying to follow a recipe with critical instructions left out.
    Going to the website was surely the answer, I thought, but alas, very little light was shed on the processes. Specifically, the lesson called “Puzzling Through Math”, Grade 6 and “Line Plot Dance” are truly inscrutable from the one-sided page description. I cannot help my students decipher it and we are all trying hard to “get it.”
    We just cannot be alone in our confusion…..are there resources we are not finding to help explain some of your lessons? THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

    • Susan Riley April 26, 2018 at 4:44 pm - Reply

      Hi Libby! Both of those “lessons” you reference are actually lesson seed ideas. They’re not a complete lesson plan – they are meant to give you a general overview of the lesson which you can then tailor and flesh out with your own ideas. We have complete lesson plans in our IntegratED Lesson Library and in my book, No Permission Required, as well as in our certification program. Both of these lesson ideas also have a lot of movement, which gets tricky to try and envision based on written steps. I think what would really help you here is being able to see these steps in action. We’re recording a video series this summer that will demonstrate these lessons and strategies and I think that will help tremendously. I’ll definitely add these two to the list!

      In the meantime, where are you specifically getting stuck in those lessons? I’m happy to help clarify where you’re getting confused.

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