Puzzling Challenge Puts Students To The Test
NY1 and parent company Time Warner Cable continue their partnership with Connect A Million Minds, highlighting education through science, technology, engineering and math. NY1's Adam Balkin filed the following report on an age old puzzle that's become a new lesson in mathematics.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Less than two minutes. That's how fast 12-year-old Amy Pimentel can solve a Rubik's Cube.
Amy Pimentel: One minute, 55 seconds.
Adam Balkin: That's how long it takes you to solve a Rubik's Cube?
Amy Pimentel: Yeah.
Adam Balkin: And could you do that before this class or did you learn that here?
Amy Pimentel: I learned it here.
Adam Balkin: In how many days?
Amy Pimentel: In one day.
The class, part of New York City Parks and Recreation after-school programs that have brought in the You Can Do The Rubik’s Cube initiative -- an initiative the cube's developers came up with as a way to both celebrate the iconic puzzle's 30th birthday and use it to teach some real world lessons.
The program comes with a box of cubes and booklets teaching kids, and the adults looking over their shoulders, how to solve it.
"It teaches them life lessons, it can be pretty frustrating when you're doing it and some of them could give up," said NYC Parks After-School Coordinator Cindy Caruso. "Well actually it's been the opposite -- it's a boost to their self confidence a lot of the kids will go home do one color come back and do it again and they get excited about it great for their confidence. It encourages them that if it's something they don't normally feel comfortable doing or are familiar with it encourages them to try something new."
And the kids who participate say it's especially gratifying to take it home to mom and dad and teach them how to solve the toy they likely gave up trying to master 20 or 30 years ago.
"I kinda found it interesting and I was excited the first time I completed the Rubik's Cube," said one student.
"At my home I couldn't do it but then when you see other people solve it you get really inspired by how they do it," said another student.
For teachers who want to bring the Rubik's Cube challenge into the classroom, developers have even created an online math program for it.
At the initiative's website, www.YouCanDoTheCube.com, educators can download lesson plans that integrate the puzzle into certain curricula which creators insist can help covering topics including area, perimeter, volume, angles and algorithms. The site also has solution guides, activities for parents and youth organizations, and even information on cube solving competitions.
For more on programs that engage teenagers in science, technology, engineering and math, visit ConnectAMillionMinds.com.