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The Rubik’s Cube is Demystified at New Northside Library Club

A recreational fad of the 1980s was solving the Rubik’s Cube. To do this, one must align the panels showing six scattered colors until each color would finally appear uniformly on each side on the cube. It looks like the Rubik’s Cube is making a comeback at Northside Library’s new Cube Club, led by volunteers and high school sophomores Kenneth Lin and Dylon Tjanaka. Fascinated with 3D puzzles since they were seventh graders at Don Callejon School, the boys now want to help other kids nurture a new hobby.

“Solving a Rubik’s Cube comes with using a lot of algorithms in math,” says Angela Ocana, librarian at Northside Library. “Students have to memorize shifting formulas to solve the Rubik’s Cube and other similar puzzles too.”

During the first Cube Club meeting on Friday, Sept. 30, Lin and Tjanaka shared tips on managing the layers of a Rubik’s Cube and encouraged young participants’ hands-on exploration of the cubes that the library provided. They also distributed handouts with additional tips and resources. Finally, the boys demonstrated speed cubing where they must race against the clock to solve multiple cubes.

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“One of the keys to solving a Rubik’s Cube is understanding how the cube works,” says Lin, now a student at Archbishop Mitty High School. “A lot of people think you solve the Rubik’s Cube by looking at the stickers. But in reality, you have to look at the pieces. There are 20 pieces total in a Rubik’s Cube. It’s easier to manage 20 pieces than to manage 54 stickers.”

“With the Rubik’s Cube, every time you go through the same process to solve a stage, you’re solving a different problem but you get the same solution,” says Tjanaka, now a student at Bellarmine College Preparatory. “I like the more advanced puzzles better because they challenge me to think about how I can apply what I learned on the Rubik’s Cube to these bigger puzzles.”

Ocana explains that there are currently two rotating Cube Clubs at Northside Library for children in grades 3 to 12. The meetings, expected to take place at least through the end of the year, will tentatively meet every Friday at Northside Library from 5-6 p.m.

“For the Beginning Cube Club, we’ll be working with basic Rubik’s Cubes; today’s meeting [Sept. 30] is for beginners who have never solved a Rubik’s Cube before,” Ocana says. “The Speed Cube Club will be the focus for the next meeting [Oct. 7], and it’s for those who have already solved a Rubik’s Cube but are looking to get faster. Speed cubing will bring in different puzzles, like the ShengShou triangle pyramids and the Megaminx cubes.”

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