November 19, 2017

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Build Your Own Speaker: SLJ Reviews BOSEbuild Speaker Cube

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BOSEbuild Speaker Cube

Bop along to music on a custom-made BOSE speaker. Sound impossible? Not anymore. Last year, BOSE launched the BOSEbuild Speaker Cube, a sturdy, miniature speaker that students build guided by an app. Once constructed, the fully operational BOSE speaker works on any iOS device.

Features

Begin the BOSEbuild Speaker Cube experience by downloading the BOSEbuild Sound app (Bose, iOS 8 or later, Free; Gr 3–8). The app connects the control panel to an iPad or iPhone via Bluetooth for setup instructions. As they assemble the speaker, students will receive quick lessons on electromagnets, frequency, vibration, and pitch.

Building the speaker is straightforward. The body consists of a control panel, a speaker, and four plastic sides. All of the pieces are large and durable, making them easy for elementary school students to handle. Additionally, the speaker cube can be taken apart and reconstructed as often as needed for multiple lessons and activities.

Once the speaker cube is assembled, activities around tuning and customizing colors provide lessons on color frequency. In the sound lessons, a slider allows for the isolation of different frequencies in a song, while an equalizer shows how to adjust low, mid, and high frequencies to obtain optimal sound quality. Color customization demonstrates how mixing shades of red, green, and blue create oranges, yellows, purples, and other hues. Users can customize the sound and colors of their speakers through these activities.

The app offers clear, linear construction guidance and activities; together they take approximately one hour. In each lesson or activity, a question mark button provides a help video and further instructions if needed. Some lessons allow for varying amounts of exploration time, depending on the user’s interest level. Two students can comfortably work on one cube.

Verdict

STEM connections abound with the BOSEbuild Speaker Cube. While the sound is robust, the app is purposefully skimpy on educational content. BOSE is marketing this as a consumer product not intended for the classroom. However, teachers and librarians can use the activities to design more in-depth lessons on how sound is created, how magnets work, and how frequency and vibration affect pitch. Lessons on the vocabulary of sound—bass, treble, frequency, tuning, pitch, wavelength, and so on—would also help students better understand concepts related to constructing and using the speaker, and the app activities.

Priced at $149 retail, the BOSEbuild Speaker Cube is worth considering for maker spaces. The app is geared for independent student exploration with no adult oversight. Educational pricing is available, but not advertised. For educational pricing and usage requirements, contact Bose.

 

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About Jennifer Hanson

Jennifer Hanson is director of library services at Worcester Academy in Massachusetts.

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Comments

  1. Andy Spinks says:

    As a passionate audiophile and a HS librarian who runs a STEM-oriented makerspace, trust me when I say that this Bose kit is not even remotely worth the money. Students would be much better served by you ordering $149 worth of speaker and amp parts from Parts Express and letting *them* decide what the finished product will be.

  2. This is sure to keep the kids occupied & curious. Great article

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