As a child of the 80’s I played with the Rubik’s cube by taking the stickers off and putting them where I though they should go. I tried to spin the sides around, but I was never able to conquer the puzzle.
Last year I was introduced to a company that will allow schools to rent a set of Rubik’s cube for classroom instruction for the cost of shipping back to them. I jumped at the chance to try something new and reached out to a teacher who would be willing to take a risk with me. We found a template for a mosaic of Nelson Mandela and decided to take a leap. The students were given a section of the mosaic template and challenged to make one side of the Rubik’s cube look like their part. We had 100 cubes for this activity and each student was able to successfully complete at least one part of the picture. Some students used a set of directions to help them get started, others chose to puzzle through on their own. Overall the project taught our students about perseverance, and problem solving.
After seeing the final product I had sever other teachers come to me and ask for a similar activity. This year I was able to rent a set of 36 cubes so we had to modify the activities. I worked with a class of 6th grade science students who were challenged to design their own mosaic templates using 9 Rubik’s cubes. They could only use the colors on the cube, and were given the freedom to design a pattern, or picture of their own. Once the designs were completed teams of 4 worked together to choose a template, and then solve the cubes to make the design come to life. Students learned through trial and error and every group successfully created at least one mosaic. The students come to me at lunchtime now asking for a Rubik’s cube because they want to figure out how to solve the whole puzzle. Students used collaboration and inquiry to work through the design and problem solving phases of this activity.
For more information about Rubik’s cube rentals and other lessons that can be taught through Rubik’s cubes check out this website. https://www.youcandothecube.com/
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