Solving a Rubik’s Cube

Everyone old enough to remember the Rubik’s Cube craze of the 1980s in the USA also remembers how it was near impossible to solve the thing! Originally created by a professor of architecture Erno Rubik, it was sold to a toy company in 1980 as the “Magic Cube”.

To date, over 350 million cubes have been sold worldwide, making it the world’s top selling puzzle game, and most people think of it as the best-selling toy of all time as well.

The original goal of creating this object was to help teach his students how to create something that rotated independently in layers without falling apart. Rubik didn’t realize he had created a puzzle until he scrambled it, and it took him over a month to solve it the first time!

There are eight corners and twelve edges, and when you do the math to figure out the number of possible combinations the puzzle has, it’s about 43 quintillion, or:


So what do you do with this thing? How DO you solve it?

It has to do with identifying the different layers, and solving one layer at a time. Here’s how you can do it:

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Download the official solver’s guide here. Or you can build a LEGO machine like JP Brown did to solve it for you!

There’s also a World Cube Association where folks keep track of cube competitions and records. The fastest cube solve was set by Mats Valk in 2013 – he can solve it in under 6 seconds. Some of the more creative competitions include solving the cube while blindfolded (record is 23.8 seconds), with only one hand (record is 12.6 seconds), only using the feet (record is 27.93 seconds), and underwater using a single breath.

Paperclip Trick

For this puzzle, you’ll use three cups and eleven objects. The first challenge is to put an odd number of objects in each cup. Is this pretty simple? How many different combinations can you come up with for the eleven objects?

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New Year’s Puzzle

This is a really fun riddle! It’s a math logic puzzle involving the calendar that will really blow your mind. Pay close attention to the clues I give in the video and see if you can work out how it works.  Pause the video at about the 1:30 mark if you would like to try and work out the answer before I show you how it works!

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Logic Numbers

This is a neat logic trick which allows you to flip over a stack of cards numbered 1-10. When you flip the back upright, they are in numerical order. There is a special way to make it work, so pay close attention to the video. I’ll show you exactly how it works.

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Checkerboard Paradox

Once in awhile, mathematicians come up against something that really seems impossible on the surface. These seemingly “impossibilities” not only cause them to sit up and take notice, but often to create new rules about the way math works, or at the very least, understand math a little better.

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