The 21-Tech initiative has allowed me as a Discovery Guide to push myself further on how much information I can process and share with each visitor I encounter.- Odis Garrett, Children’s Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech is a bridge between our museum guides and the visitors in that it creates connections between educational concepts and the real world.- Shawn Waxali, Children’s Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech has helped Discovery Guides engage visitors by extending their experience through the apps and applying it to the exhibits.- Ian Tibby, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech is a way of ‘hiding the vegetables in the fruit’ where the kids do not realize they are learning, but instead having fun and being fed knowledge that intrigues their minds.- Lauren Bell, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech provides a new outlet for our Discovery Guides to interact with the visitors in a way that further enhances their experience and makes the visit overall extra enjoyable.- Sylvia Garcia, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide

Cyberchase 3D Builder

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App Description: This app, designed by PBS Kids for children ages 6-9, fosters understanding of building 3D shapes from 2D nets. Buzz and Delete from Cyberchase are trying to rebuild the flattened houses of Botopolis back with the original 3-dimensional structures. The app developers describe the learning goals of the app saying, “The game also helps develop spatial reasoning skills and the ability to visualize and manipulate objects in 3-dimensional space.” A cool feature of the app is that the nets start becoming more complex, consisting of more than one shape, as you move to higher levels. You will be faced with challenges such as creating and stacking two or more 3D shapes to resemble the structure Buzz and Delete need for their city.

How We Use It: At the Children’s Museum of Houston, we use this app in our Cyberchase Rebuild Eureeka exhibit which is exactly what the app represents. The only difference here is that the exhibit is hands-on where you build 3D shapes from the nets in order to rebuild the flattened city of Eureeka. However it is much more difficult to put the 3D shapes together in the exhibit as compared to doing it on the app. Therefore the exhibit serves as the challenge factor after the visitor has interacted with the app. In addition the app is also used as a step-by-step tutorial for making complex 3D shapes similar to the one in the higher levels of the game.

Our facilitators let the visitors play with the app to learn about what nets are required to build a shape such as a 3D triangle or square. If the kids are older and are interested in making complex shapes, then our facilitators use the app as a step-by-step tutorial for creating different 3D shapes. They allow the visitors to choose a 3D shape on the app or create their own design,  lay out the nets as shown in the app and encourage them to identify the nets in the exhibit required to build the structure. Then they start building each of the nets with reference to the steps on the app. The facilitators ask the kids to do simple challenges such as counting the number of faces the shape has or identifying what shape each of the face is.

Important Note: The levels after 6 involve identification of the nets to build a shape that Buzz and Delete want. You have to choose the net from 3-4 different nets to make the required house structure. The structure could involve more than one 3D shape. Receive 3 stars if you can do it in just a few seconds. These levels are more complex and you can’t reach them unless you play all the other levels. It is important to note that the game does not become addictive and serves the purpose of being a reference for the hands-on Rebuild Eureeka exhibit.

Museum RecommendingChildren’s Museum of Houston
Platform Used: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Cost: $1.99
Link: Cyberchase 3D Builder


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Project Brief

21-Tech partners study and share the effective use of Personal Mobile Technologies (PMTs) by gallery facilitators in their work with visitors. The initial three years (2011-2013) of 21-Tech are funded in large part by a 21st Century Museum Professionals award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project is led by the Children’s Museum of Houston in partnership with Lawrence Hall of Science, New York Hall of Science, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and Sciencenter. For more information, please visit the About page.

Major funding provided by:

Additional support provided by: