Can Practicing the Rubik’s Cube Help in Mathematics?
When Erno Rubik built the now-famous Rubik’s cube in 1974, he didn’t imagine how popular it would become. Today, the Rubik’s cube is not only a puzzle that many people like to solve, but also an educational toy used by STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) enthusiasts. Studies show that playing the Rubik’s cube can improve problem-solving skills, concentration, and help develop an interest in mathematics.
Mathematicians have long been charmed by this innocuous cube which consists of 6 sides and 9 unique pieces on each side. All that one needs to do to solve the Rubik’s cube is to twist and turn the individual cubes so that each of the 6 sides of the Rubik’s cube has the same color.
In this article, we take a look at why mathematicians have long loved this game, and how it can improve your math skills.
1. Constant practice improves mathematical reasoning
The Rubik’s cube consists of 6 faces in 6 solid colors: yellow, green, orange, blue, red, and white. There is an internal axis that enables each face to turn independently. For the puzzle to be solved, you need to bring back the same solid colors in each face. In other words, even basic attempts to solve the cube require a degree of mathematical reasoning. When you attempt to solve the cube quickly, especially when the configurations are complex, you will notice that you are putting your rusty mathematical skills to use. And with constant use and practice, your mathematical abilities improve.
2. A great educational aid to teach math
Teachers can make use of the Rubik’s cube to teach ratios, fractions, and proportions to students. For example, a teacher may ask students to solve math-related problems based on the Rubik’s cube in the class. Example: One a single face of a Rubik’s cube that Tom has been trying to solve, there are three orange and six red tiles. Represent the red tiles on the visible face in a fraction. The answer is either 6/9 or 2/3. It is also a great tool to teach factorials and other complex mathematical concepts to older students, especially those who hesitate to approach math.
3. Build a social bond with math enthusiasts
People who tend to enjoy playing the Rubik’s cube are often good at solving equations, mathematical problems, etc. It is a well-known fact that both kids and adults who have an innate fear of math benefit from interacting with those who are good at mathematics. The Rubik’s cube acts as a social opportunity between those who enjoy math and those who do not. This leads to increasing camaraderie between the two, encouraging math-conscious people to slowly overcome their hesitation. When done consciously, for instance, playing the Smart Cube with actual Rubik’s cube enthusiasts, you may get over your hesitation towards mathematics.
4. Reinforce neural connections that help you solve problems
Every time you try to solve the Rubik’s cube, you are exercising both the hemispheres of your brain. This helps you improve both your creative and analytical abilities. In addition, solving this complex puzzle helps you refine your focus, patience, and concentration, all of which are necessary to get better at mathematics. The constant attempts at solving the cube through trial-and-error methods improve your ability to arrange things and identifying patterns. Slowly, you will come up with your own rules to solve the puzzle. These are all skills necessary to solve mathematical problems as well.
5. Reinventing the Classic Rubik’s Cube
The Rubik’s cube is available all over the world today, but carrying it around can prove to be difficult. If you plan to use the Rubik’s cube as a math-teaching aid, a good option is to use GoCube’s Smart Cube. These cubes can be connected to smart devices such as tablets and smartphones to track moves, interact with other players, and access statistics. Consequently, it can prove to be an excellent teaching aid in the classroom. Smart cubes can also help you practice problem-solving techniques and pattern identification when you are solitary.
In short, GoCube’s Smart Cubes are a great way to practice the Rubik’s cube while on the go or in the classroom and develop concentration, problem-solving skills, and mathematical reasoning.