This Week From Bedtime Math: When the Cube Turns 40

Only rubes don&t know how to cube! Have fun with a classic puzzle in today&s challenge from Bedtime Math!
By Laura Overdeck
Jun 03, 2014



Jun 03, 2014

What is Bedtime Math? A message from Laura: Bedtime Math is a pretty simple idea: We all know we should read to our kids at night, but what about math? My husband and I have done fun, mischief-loaded math problems with our kids at night for years, and when at age 2 our third child started hollering for his own math problem, we realized we were onto something:  In a world where so many people say, "Ewww, math!" we had created a household culture where kids don't just tolerate math, they actually seek it out. Now, every week, we'll be posting a new problem right here on Scholastic Parents!
One of the best-selling toys ever invented is the Rubik's Cube, which is having its 40th birthday! It seems so simple: a cube with 9 colored squares on each side, and you twist the rows to make each side to be all one color. What makes that so hard is that there are over 43 quintillion possible line-ups of the pieces. Over 350 million of Erno Rubik's crazy puzzle have sold, and in honor of the toy's 40th year, Liberty Science Center created a giant Rubik's Cube exhibit. As you see in the picture, they set up a 26-foot-tall glowing cube, and visitors wore Rubik's Cube-decorated clothes like those cool shoes. Best of all, world record-holder speed-cuber Anthony Brooks solved the puzzle for the crowd in just a few seconds, using just one hand and without even looking at it half the time! Next time you're in the New York area, stop by LSC and give the cube a few spins – but we'll let you use two hands.

Wee ones: How many blue squares can you count on those cool shoes?

Little kids: If each face of the cube has 3 rows of 3 squares each, how many colored squares does each face have?  Bonus: How many edges does a cube have?

Big kids: If there are 9 squares on each face, how many squares does the whole cube have?  Bonus: Anthony Brooks can solve the Cube blindfolded by memorizing its scrambled pattern. If his best time in this event is 1 minute 45 seconds, and you need twice as long to solve it not blindfolded, how fast in minutes and seconds can you solve the cube?
Wee ones: 4 blue squares.
Little kids: 9 squares.  Bonus: 12 edges: 4 around the top, 4 around the bottom, and 4 running up and down.
Big kids: 54 squares.  Bonus: 3 minutes 30 seconds (since it's 2 minutes 90 seconds).

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