Creating an Interactive Virtual Photo Cube


Lesson Background

This particular week we read the story, Todd’s Box, about a boy who takes a walk with his mother. Along the way he collects artifacts from nature, and he saves them in a box. At the end of the story he surprises his mom with the box. In math we were still working on subtraction, which was the focus of our Jack and Rick Subtraction stories the previous week. Incorporating science was a logical choice based on the reading selection for the week. For this project I decided to have students go on a nature walk and take digital photos of what they found. Then students created their own virtual box to showcase the artifacts they found on their nature walk.

Nature Walk

Like Todd in the story I took my students on a nature walk around our school property. I was amazed to see all the nature around our building that we take for granted on day to day basis. Along our walk students saw a variety of plants and animals, and we had a lot of teachable moments! I instructed students to find 1 artifact to keep. I also told them that they should not pluck leaves off the trees or pick flowers, but rather found loose items on the ground. Students really enjoyed the nature walk experience! They were eager to point out their observations, and were full of curiosity.

Sharing & Discussion

Once we were done with our nature walk I had students sit down in the grass. Each student shared what they found along the walk. We also discussed other things we observed along the way, such animals, insects and plants.


From there I asked students how we could group items based on their characteristics. Students moved around to form groups until they decided on the following five categories:

  • Rocks & Stones
  • Branches
  • Leaves
  • Flowers
  • Fruit and Berries


Once students had their objects grouped they arranged them to be photographed. From there students used the iPad to take photos of the artifacts in each of the categories they created.

Creating the Cube

I downloaded a free app on the iPad to create the photo cube. I showed students how to add photos to the cube from the iPad library by double tapping on the side of the cube and selecting the image. Students were able to spin the cube using their finger. They also were able to zoom in and out by spreading their fingers apart or pulling them together. I locked students into the app using the super useful directions that I got from the Primary Possibilities blog. This is a great way from keeping young children from accidentally exiting the app. You can also draw circles around the areas of the app that you don’t want them to be able to use or access. Once I had students locked into the app I passed it around the room for them to take turns manipulating it. I didn’t have to worry that the might click on something they shouldn’t!

The Final Product

I always like to share my students’ work with their families, but unfortunately the app would only allow me to take still photos of the cube. I found this website where I was able to replicate the cube we made on the iPad. When I created the cube with this website, it generated embed code so I could share it on my Kidblog and on my Edmodo site. Here is the cube we created.


Picture Cube

How do you use photography with your students? How do you incorporate environmental education and science into your daily lessons?

Coming Soon: Mind Mapping with Popplet!

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  1. Pingback: Using PowerPoint to Act Out Mathematical Story Problems « EduCaitional Technology

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