The Rubik’s Cube Math Curriculum

by NYC Firm Schools on November 22, 2009

Using games to learn and art to inspire are mandatory factors in classroom lessons and learning about life, but many NYC schools are taking one of the most popular toys of all time and incorporating it into a math curriculum program.

A NY Times blog discussed the power of the Gen-X favorite Rubik’s Cube now coming out of the playroom and into the math curriculum of a new generation.

About a dozen New York City schools have introduced a child-friendly Rubik’s Cube-based math curriculum devised for students as young as 8. In addition, New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation is planning to introduce Rubik’s Cube solving at its 32 after-school program sites citywide within the next few weeks.

Teachers are attracted to the puzzle-solving lesson because it helps with geometry, algebra, direction-following, memorization and perseverance. But most importantly, teachers say it gives students a sense of accomplishment; they often give certificates as a reward to students who solve the cube.

Many grown adults remember the first time that they saw a playmate solve a Rubik’s cube, and the envy they felt. Everyone who every persevered and solved it themselves remembers the sense pride and accomplishment when those colored blocks matched perfectly for the first time.

That sense of confidence is noticeable when a student solves the cube in public without a guide and wows a nearby adult.
The New York City schools already using the program span private, public, elementary, middle and high schools. They include the Town School and Hunter College Elementary School in Manhattan; East Flatbush Community Research School, Bushwick Community High School, Brownsville Academy High School, Public School 99, Bay Ridge Preparatory School, James Madison High School, and Intermediate School 187 in Brooklyn; SAR Academy in the Bronx; and Tottenville High School in Staten Island.

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