The Cube Test ESL Activity can help students improve their writing skills and have fun evaluating their classmates’ personalities.
The original Cube Personality Test was developed by Tadahiko Nagao and Isamu Saito who co-wrote the popular Kokology book series. The test analyzes people’s personalities by using guided storytelling. However, you can also use it in your language class.
The Cube Test ESL Activity Preparation:
Before starting the activity, prepare some paper for your students. Get some lined paper for writing and some blank paper for students to draw on.
You may also want to print out a copy of the activity guidelines so it is easier to lead your students through the personality test.
The Cube Test ESL Activity Guidelines:
First, hand out the paper to the students that you prepared beforehand.
Second, tell them to listen to your story and draw what you describe. They should also try to draw what you ask them to the best of their ability. You could draw the first part on the board so they have a clearer idea what to do for the other drawing stages.
Then, start describing the story.
Tell the students, “You are walking alone in the desert and you see a cube.”
If you are doing an example for this first part, draw your own version of the desert and the cube on the board. Try to draw a fairly detailed picture of the desert and cube. Then, tell the students to draw their own unique version.
Next, board and ask the following questions:
- How big is the cube?
- What color is the cube?
- How does that color make you feel?
- Can you see inside the cube?
- How big is the cube compared to the desert?
The students should then look at the picture that they drew and write a short paragraph answering each of the questions.
Give them about 5 minutes to complete the task.
After completion, they can read their descriptions to their partner. Lead some feedback.
For the next stage, continue the story and drawing. Tell the students, “You see a ladder.”
Then, the students should draw a ladder somewhere in their picture.
Board and ask the following questions:
- Is the ladder leaning on the cube?
- What color is the ladder?
- What is the distance between the cube and the ladder?
Next, the students should write their second paragraph and answer the questions in their descriptions. Again, set a time limit of about 5 minutes. After completing the task, the students can read their paragraphs to their partners.
Lead feedback again.
Now that you understand the process, continue the activity with the remaining objects and questions. Repeat the same tasks for each stage.
“You see a horse.”
- What is the distance between the cube and the horse?
- What color is the horse?
- Is the horse tied up or roaming freely?
- Is the horse wearing a saddle?
“You see a storm.”
- What is the distance between the storm and the cube?
- Is the size of the storm big or small?
- Is the storm passing by or staying in place?
- Is the storm violent, thunder, and lightning or calm and light rain?
“You see a flower.”
- Is there only one flower or many?
- Where is the flower, what is it next to?
- What color is the flower?
Next, after completing the final stage with the flower, the students should have completed their drawings and written 5 short paragraphs describing each object on the desert.
For the final step, you will tell the students the symbolic meaning of each object. Each object represents some aspect of their personality. Many students will likely be surprised by the accuracy of the test.
Note, the way that you present the meanings is up to you. You could give them a hand out of the meanings of what each object represents.
Alternatively, you could simply describe it for them. However, handing out separate descriptions for each individual student to read would be more interactive and help develop other skills.
Lastly, if you have time, getting all of the students involved in the last stage of the activity would be ideal.
For detailed meanings of each object and the colors, visit David Wolfe’s website.
Furthermore, below is a simplified version of the symbolic meaning of the cube, ladder, horse, storm, and flower. The meanings of colors are also included afterward.
Meanings of Objects
Cube = how you see yourself
Cube material = your feelings and personality
Cube size = your ego
Ladder = your friends
The distance between the cube and the ladder = the closeness you have with your friends
Horse = your lover or ideal lover
The distance between the horse and the cube = the closeness you have with your current lover or how far your future lover is from you
Storm = a problem in your life
Passing storm = the problem will be resolved soon
Stagnant storm = an ongoing problem in your life
Storm size = how big the problem is
Storm distance = the significance of the problem and/or the time it has occurred
Storm strength = the amount of grief that the problem has caused you
Flower = your children or desire to have children
Flower distance = how close you feel to your children or the desire of having children
Flower amount = the number of kids you want to have
Meanings of Colors
Black = powerful, mysterious, authoritative, elegant, sophisticated, seductive
White = precise, youthful, peaceful, innocent, pure, clean
Red = aggressive, dominant, powerful, sexual, loving, strong
Blue = stable, confident, knowledgeable, authoritative, loyal, truthful
Green = generous, compassionate, prosperous, wealthy, relaxed, lucky
Yellow = happy, optimistic, enthusiastic, playful, idealistic, imaginative
Purple = royal, luxurious, wealthy, sophisticated, spiritual, wise
Brown = reliable, stable, comfortable, earthy, simple, homely
For more color symbolism, check out this site.
Follow-Up ESL Activities:
Lastly, if you have time after reviewing the symbolism of The Cube Test, you could do peer reviews of the paragraphs.
To practice speaking, the students could pair up and try the Two Truths and a Lie ESL Speaking Activity. Encourage them to use some of the topics from The Cube Test. A quick game of Wheel of Fortune is a good idea too which is appropriate for all levels.
More ESL Writing Activities for Kids and Adults:
- Running Dictation
- Family Tree
- Christmas Story
- Daily Diary
- Movie Subtitles
- Five Senses
- News Report
- Comic Strips