January 17, 2019 (Columbia, S.C.) – On January 26, students from across Richland One picked up one of the most popular puzzles in modern history, the Rubik’s® Cube, to compete in the school district’s first-ever “speedcubing” competition. Produced by EngenuitySC, the event was held at Hopkins Middle School.
Offering middle and high school students from across Richland One a fun, exciting way to sharpen mathematical thinking through practicing multiple algorithms, the contest challenged students to solve the Rubik’s Cube as quickly as possible.
Though it first gained popularity in the early 1980s, the art of solving the Rubik’s Cube has slowly regained momentum over the past few years, aided by online publication of “quick-solve” methods on sites such as YouTube. The sport of speedcubing requires a student to learn and memorize algorithms — each an operation on the puzzle that reorients its pieces in a certain way —in order to quickly solve the cube. A typical solve will require memorization of more than 70 algorithms. Speedcubing clubs popped up at schools across the district this fall.
“Teachers love how Rubik’s League uniquely ties academics to an extracurricular activity,” says Dr. Sharon Newton, club sponsor at Hopkins Middle School. “And the students love the challenge and the competition.”
This event is made possible in part by Rubik’s “You CAN Do The Rubik’s® Cube” outreach program. Bringing the program to Richland One was an idea pitched by the team at EngenuitySC, a nonprofit that provides logistical support, connections with the private sector and more for selected STEAM programming within the district.
The mission of the “You CAN Do The Rubik’s® Cube” program is to provide resources to schools so that they may promote STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) standards and 21st century skills via the Rubik’s Cube in both classroom and after-school settings.
“Programs like Rubik’s speedcubing build foundational skills in algebraic thinking that can lead to later success in engineering and computer science,” says Meghan Hickman, executive director of EngenuitySC. “All the while, the kids are having a ton of fun.”
Officially sanctioned by Rubik’s, the event will include both team solving and individual solving events. After only a few months of practice, these teams and individual solvers took the top spots on the leader board.
Middle school division – recorded time for solving a single cube
1. Lucas Biel (W.G. Sanders) – 30.34 seconds
2. Megan Praylow (W.G. Sanders) – 51.83 seconds
3. Patrick Owen (Crayton) – 56.391 seconds
High school division – recorded time for solving a single cube
1. Donovan Wright (Eau Claire High School) – 1:20
Middle School Group Solve – time for a team of 8 students to solve 25 cubes
1. W.G. Sanders – 4:38.676
2. Crayton – 5:49.892
3. Hopkins MS – solved 10 cubes within the 10 minute time allotment
“We are thankful to partner with the Rubik’s brand in planning such an innovative, exciting endeavor. We hope this is the first of many more to come,” says Sandy Brossard, Chief of Teaching and Learning for Richland One.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., EngenuitySC is a nonprofit focused on long-term competitiveness and prosperity in the Midlands. EngenuitySC specializes in managing collaborations between business, government, education and community leaders. For more information, visit http://www.engenuitysc.com/.
About “You CAN Do The Rubik’s® Cube”
“You CAN Do the Rubik’s® Cube” is the educational outreach program of the world-famous Rubik’s® Cube, which brings mathematical, cooperative, and art concepts together while empowering anyone to solve the Rubik’s Cube. For further information on using the You CAN Do The Rubik’s Cube program in your organization, go to: www.YouCanDoTheCube.com.