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Middle School Students Learn Critical STEAM Skills Through Rubik’s Cube Challenges

D.C. Everest (DCE) Middle School Math Teacher Kelly Ziegelbauer and House 6E teachers have launched a unique program to teach students about the importance of algorithms, while illustrating the interconnectedness between science, technology, engineering, art/design and math (STEAM) — “I Can Do the Cube: Rubik’s® Cube”. Ziegelbauer initiated the “I Can Do the Cube” program this fall after receiving funding for the project from the DCE Area Education Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides grants for creative and innovative educational programs that utilize the latest technologies and instructional methods.

The “I Can Do the Cube” program first teaches students how to solve the cube using algorithms. Once students learned how to solve the cube, they were able to hone the speed with which they solved the cube. Having mastered their knowledge of the cube, students then collaborated to design a complex mosaic using 210 Rubik’s® Cubes. “The main focus of our project was to help students develop 21st century skills and a growth mindset,” notes Ziegelbauer. “Each individual had to learn how to master the cube, which in itself is a challenge. Then they had to collaborate, problem-solve, persevere through challenges and develop leadership skills in order to come up with an artistic design for the Rubik’s® mosaic and then engineer that design into a reality. It’s a very effective means of learning first-hand how technical, design, math, engineering, creativity and artistic skills complement one another.”

The sixth grade students in House 6E designed an “#EverestPride” Rubik’s® mosaic that was displayed at the DCE Education Foundation’s IMAGINE 2017 fundraising event. The mosaic will be on display at the Middle School until the next class begins working on their own unique Rubik’s® mosaic. A Rubik’s® Cube STEAM class, taught by Barbara Strahota, will also be offered as part of DCE’s summer session.

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