Grade: Middle
Subject: Literature

#2362. Character Cubing

Literature, level: Middle
Posted Wed Jan 2 14:19:20 PST 2002 by P.R. Hartfiel (
Bartlesville Mid-High, Bartlesville, OK
Materials Required: Cubes of various sizes, magazines, gluesticks, various art supplies, markers, etc.
Activity Time: 2 hours in class; homework
Concepts Taught: Comparison/Contrast of Literary Characters

My freshmen students read Romeo & Juliet and Westside Story. As one culminating project, they construct a character cube showing the characters from each reading. The students are assigned a week before the actual planned day of activity to bring an empty box of some sort - - and I encourage the shape of the cube. They may also elect to bring scraps of wrapping paper or any craft materials that they believe will add to the creativity portion of the assignment. I give the students two class periods to work on the cubes so I can assist with the textual support questions and because I want them to be creative, I give them an additional three days before the cube is handed in for grading.

The students list the comparative characters from each reading:

Romeo Tony
Juliet Maria
Benvolio Baby John
Mercutio Biff
Friar Lawrence Doc
Prince Schrank
Nurse Anita
Tybalt Bernardo
Chorus/Servants Members of Gangs

For each character, the students write descriptive phrases using textual support.
These are then composed in any type of font they wish -- using markers or printer. The "matching" character compositions are then applied to various sides of the cube (i.e. on the same side one above the other would be Tony and Romeo). Additional visualizations come from the artistic applications of the students. Some use magazine lettering, glitter, wrapping paper to cover the cube, yarns, ribbons, etc.

It helps them visualize the characters while comparing and contrasting the attributes of each.

The project is graded by rubric and points are given for the descriptions backed by textural support; creativity in preparation of the cube, completeness of project, and use of time. The students go to great lengths in using artistic expression for the characters and this is one of their favorite projects.

I have adapted this idea from one used by a colleague who has her honor students use the cube device to discuss literary elements. I have also used the cube device in defining elements of the Shakespearean drama. If I can be any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.