A group of students from Trinity Meadows Intermediate and Trinity Springs Middle schools in the Keller school district is having some serious fun with a puzzle toy that was all the rage when their parents were kids.
The Rubiks Cube Club involves about a dozen kids, many of whom compete in regional contests to see who can solve the puzzles the fastest.
There are team competitions and solo competitions. For the team contest, eight students help each other solve 25 cubes as fast as they can. The Trinity team is ranked sixth in the middle school division in the state of Texas with their time of 4 minutes 34 seconds.
Northwest school district’s Chisholm Trail Middle School also has a Rubiks Cube Club. The school’s team was ranked tops in the middle school division in the state last year with a time of 3 minutes 24 seconds.
“Nothing boosts self-confidence like learning to solve the cube,” said CTMS teacher and sponsor Sheila Greene.
At a December contest for the North Texas region, one Trinity Springs student, Aidan Fox, had the fastest time in the solo contest. His solution in 31.44 seconds is the best time in his age group and the third best time overall in the state right now.
Aidan, a seventh-grader, started playing with a Rubiks Cube in the third grade but didn’t get serious about solving for speed until last summer. His fastest time ever is 19 seconds.
“I started cubing a lot over the summer, so I could get faster and faster,” Aidan said.
He likes how you have to focus and think about every move. While the processes stay the same, the solution is different ever time, he said.
Trinity Meadows fifth-grader Abigail Jenkins didn’t know how to solve the puzzle when she began attending the club at the beginning of the school year. After lots of work, the solution process just clicked.
“It’s just fun to figure things out,” Abigail said. “Not too many people know how to do it. It’s just so satisfying.”
Christina Carson, the Trinity Meadows teacher who sponsors the club, said kids teach one another, but it takes patience to learn.
“Only the ones that have the perseverance can do it,” Carson said.
Carson Patterson, a fifth-grader, said he often carries his cube around and works on solving it fast, which draws the attention of his classmates.
“Everyone comes up to me and says, ‘Can you teach me? Can you teach me?’” Carson Patterson said.
Students learn math and the power of algorithms in a fun way, along with improving their teamwork skills, Christina Carson said.
In addition to solving for speed, club members can make mosaics with multiple cubes. At a recent after-school meeting, kids made the Superman “S” emblem and a picture of Mario from the Super Mario Bros. game. They followed a template to create the designs, but they also can make their own mosaic designs.
Both the speed contests and the mosaics are recorded on the website, youcandothecube.com. The site also includes a guide to solving the Rubiks Cube. Christina Carson said once students have solved one side, they can follow the written guide.
The club, which meets after school every other Monday at Trinity Meadows Intermediate School, includes some kids who haven’t yet completed the puzzle. Other students will help and encourage them until they get it.
Kids enjoy learning to solve the puzzle and solving for speed.
Carson Patterson said, “It’s really fun. When you’re solving it, it blocks out everything you’re worrying about.”
Christina Carson said they’d love to have a sponsor who would help them go to competitions. For more information on the club, email firstname.lastname@example.org.