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The cube craze

The typical fourth grade homeroom consists of students running around, talking with their friend and reading. Despite these hectic surroundings, fourth grader Grant Bomersbach stands in the doorway of one of the fourth grade classrooms, zeroed in on one thing: his three-by-three, six-colored Rubik’s Cube.
Since October, Rubik’s Cubes have become a popular hobby among fourth graders in their free time. According to fourth grade teacher Laura Flanagan, 15 students have been playing with Rubik’s Cubes during their breaks throughout the school day.

“It is a very distinct group of kids that thrive on solving puzzles,” Mrs. Flanagan said.

The fourth grade faculty has put a restriction on solving Rubik’s Cubes during class times in order to keep the students focused on the lessons. The teachers have made this rule as they would have for any other popular toy, despite the fact that cubes are proven to help with hand-eye coordination and stimulate the brain.

“There’s always something going on, and this year, it’s Rubik’s Cubes,” Fourth Grade teacher Greg Krauss said. “Before this, it was spinners.”

The students use different models of Rubik’s cube, according to Mrs. Flanagan. Students use cubes ranging from a simple 2×2 cube all the way up to a 7×7. Some students even use a particularly difficult cube, the pyramid Rubik’s Cube.

“A 4×4 cube will take me around 10 minutes to solve, whereas an easier one can take just as little as a minute for me to solve,” Grant said. “I got interested in them while watching competitions, and I saw the competitors solve them in seconds. I then saw other people on YouTube who couldn’t solve them as fast but after, I decided I’d try also so I got on YouTube and made videos myself.”

The world record for solving the standard 3×3 Rubik’s cube is 4.74 seconds. Grant and others said they can solve them between roughly one and five minutes.
Of the 25 students who participate in this trend, there are only three fourth graders who have successfully solved a 3×3 Rubik’s Cube.

Mrs. Flanagan said the fourth grade students know who those students are and aspire to one day solve the cube like they do.

One of the three fourth graders who has reached Rubik’s Cube glory is Miles Bordelon, who is new to Greenhill this year.

“I just saw everyone having a Rubik’s Cube and I just thought it was really cool,” Miles said.

Some students have tricks and shortcuts that they use to help them solve the cube even more efficiently.

“There are some tricks I know, like moving an entire section instead of just an outer part. A lot of kids like Grant and Miles help out the other kids and teach them tricks as well,” said fourth grader Noah Chu.

Noah has been solving the Rubik’s Cube for two years, but only recently has he spent more time with his classmates trying to solve the cube. The students regularly time themselves solving to cube to see how fast they can complete it. Miles averages around five minutes to solve the standard cube.

Mrs. Flanagan said the trend is one that will most likely be beneficial for those who have chosen to engage in the challenge of solving the cube.

“It’s challenging the brain in a way that I think is positive,” she said.

Story by Riya Rangdal and Natalie Gonchar

Photo by Rylyn Koger

Originally published in the December 2017 print issue

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