Quick solutions: Rubik’s cube team dazzles with talent

Published Wednesday, February 28, 2018
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Fast Fingers

FAST FINGERS – Chisholm Trail Rubik’s Cube Club members William Thornell, Cody Burrell, Jack Walters, Nic Hess, Liam Ignacio, Elijah Cockerill and Bo Bolton practice their skills. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

Chisholm Trail Middle School science teacher Sheila Greene recalls picking up a Rubik’s cube four years ago after some of her sixth graders were playing around with one.

The relic from the 1980s gave her fits.

“It took me two weeks to solve it the first time,” Greene said. “It was so intense. It was the hardest thing I’ve had to do.”

Now, some of Greene’s students need less than 30 seconds to solve the multi-colored, 3-D combination puzzle.

The Chisholm Trail Rubik’s Cube Club’s eight-member team was the top in the state last year among middle school. It took eight teammates only 3 minutes and 24 seconds to solve 25 cubes.

“It’s fun to watch,” Greene said.

Last week at the Northwest ISD Expo, Elijah Cockerill entertained an enthralled crowd, solving cube after cube in seconds.

“My aunt showed me the basics of what do and what to look for,” Cockerill said. “I looked on YouTube and there’s a lot of tutorials. I’ve been doing it for three to four years and have got my time down from a minute to 20 seconds.”

During the school’s advisory period Friday, the club met in multiple classrooms to practice. Greene worked with 16 beginning members. The more experienced 16 members worked to solve puzzles in Chris Farmer’s classroom.

“It doesn’t look real,” Farmer said watching the group of students crowded around a lab table solving cubes.

“I’m terrible at it. I have the directions and it still takes me a while.”

After mixing up the cubes, the team starts a timer to test themselves. In the first run, they solve all the puzzles in four minutes.

“It’s fun. I’m here with all my friends,” said seventh-grader Cody Burrell, who said his average time is around 50 seconds.

Liam Ignocio added that his personal best is 25 seconds.

“Once you learn the solutions, it’s not that hard,” he said.

Along with the joy of completing a puzzle and competing, Greene and Farmer said the students are learning important lessons.

“There’s a lesson of following through with a team. There’s also a lot of analysis skills to do this at a high level,” Farmer said.

It shows the students just what they are capable of and opens their imagination to other material, Greene said.

“If they can solve a cube, there’s nothing too hard to learn,” Greene said. “They will then learn all kinds of hard science.”

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