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It’s cool to be a cube
Jan. 9, 2012
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New Rubik’s Cube club at DHS revs up a classic

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

“It’s just kind of quirky and random,” senior Stephanie Smith said, as to why she joined Delano High School’s new Rubik’s Cube club.

The group meets after school every Tuesday, with a stack of 225 cubes, a big wooden frame, and impressive puzzle-solving skill.

“Our focus each week is putting a mosaic together,” said Smith, who can solve a cube in about 45 seconds.

So far, mosaics have been created of a tiger (the school mascot), Abraham Lincoln, and Santa Claus.

The club also made a mosaic of the NBC logo for its Dec. 22 appearance on KARE 11.

“This is the first group I’ve heard of in Minnesota,” said DHS math teacher Matt Nohner, who started the club at the beginning of the school year.

Math with a twist
Nohner’s fascination with Rubik’s cubes began while he was earning his teaching degree.

“I had a college roommate who taught me how to solve the Rubik’s Cube,” he said. “He told me, ‘now you’re cursed. Every time you see an unfinished Rubik’s Cube, you’ll have to solve it.’”

Because Rubik’s cubes teach algorithms, memorization, focus, problem solving, and perseverance, they’ve been a staple in Nohner’s classroom for the past nine years.

Each year, he generally teaches a few students how to solve the cube, who in turn teach their friends.

“As for the mosaic, I’ve always wanted to do something like that,” Nohner said. “I just thought it would be neat.”

He contacted You CAN Do the Rubik’s Cube, a campaign which loaned 225 Rubik’s Cubes to the club for the school year.

“Our only cost will be to ship them back,” Nohner said.

Currently, more then 2,300 schools and hundreds of after-school programs nationwide are enrolled in the You CAN Do The Rubik’s Cube program, according to spokesperson Liz Jannarone.

Come to the cube club
In Delano, anyone in grades nine through 12 is welcome to join the club, regardless of skill level.

“A lot of the people in our club still can’t solve the cubes,” Nohner said.

Only one side needs to be solved for the mosaics, which makes it quite a bit easier, according to freshman Adam Eskola.

“There are a couple basic moves you have to know,” he said.

Each mosaic typically takes the club about 1.5 hours to complete. After a design is chosen, a color-coded plan is printed on a piece of paper. The paper is then cut into 15 sections (25 cubes per section) and distributed to each student.

“Each section is different,” Smith said. “If they’re mostly the same color, they might take 10 minutes, while others take 40 minutes.”

While they’re solving the cubes, club members talk, laugh, and relax.

“You drink pop, listen to cool music, and hang out,” sophomore Samantha Sinkel said.

The club is laid back, with no activity fees or requirements.

“Not everybody’s able to make it every night,” Nohner said. “I don’t want to make it a big commitment.”

Nohner said the club is a unique way for students to challenge themselves and learn a new skill.

“You can have fun doing smart things,” he said.

To see the club’s KARE 11 segment, click here.

A link to the You CAN Do the Rubik’s Cube website is available here.

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