Thursday, 12 December 2019

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Rubik’s Cube experts share their skills at lunchtime club

A Rubik’s Cube club is now one of the lunchtime activities on offer at Mercury Bay Area School, thanks to the efforts of two in-house experts who have been sharing their skills with other students.

International student, Julius Troegele, started the club earlier this year after a Rubik’s Cube competition uncovered some impressive talent, including Year 13 student, Luke Caddy, who solves the cube in around 12 seconds.

“I don’t do the cube as much as I used to. When I was doing it a lot, my fastest time was 6.8 seconds. I really enjoy problem solving. People think that you need to be good at maths to be good at the cube, but that’s a misconception. It’s more about pattern recognition and spatial awareness and then finger dexterity as you try to get faster,” Luke says.

Julius who has a fastest time of 23 seconds and an average of between 30 to 40 seconds, says the club has been a fun way of getting to know other students and it’s providing him with another opportunity to practice his English.

“The students can improve pretty quickly when you show them the right methods, but it can also be difficult as sometimes I can’t think of the right word to explain, but I have enjoyed the club and we’ll continue next year,” he says.

The German student will be in Whitianga until the middle of next year year and says once the cube has been mastered, it’s all about getting faster or trying to complete it in more challenging situations. “Back in Germany I’ve done it on a roller coaster and also when I was skydiving with my father and grandfather. I jumped out of the plane, solved the cube, then passed it to my father before I pulled my chute,” Julius says.

Luke says having a good memory helps when initially mastering the Rubik’s Cube. “There are basically three different methods. Once you give people the fundamentals, they get a good understanding of the process. After that it’s just about memorising the algorithms. For example the second to last step has up to 57 potential scenarios. After you’ve been doing it for a while, you almost don’t need to think about it, your brain instantly recognises the pattern and what move you need to make,” he says.

After sitting his final exams this year, 18-year-old Luke is hoping to study physiotherapy at university. He believes the Rubik’s Cube has helped him develop skills that he can apply in other areas. “You’re training your brain to think a certain way, to look at a situation and logically assess it and, when necessary, to identify solutions,” he says.

If you are one of those frustrated people who’ve battled for hours trying to master the Rubik’s cube, then it might be time to rethink your strategy because, according to Julius and Luke, the cube can be solved from any position in 20 moves or less.

Lorraine Bristow, director of international students at MBAS, says the club has provided a great opportunity for interaction between students and was another great lunchtime activity that didn’t involve screen time. “It has been particularly beneficial for our international students in terms of making connections with other students outside of the classroom,” she says.

Pictured: The Rubik’s cube talents of Mercury Bay Area School students Luke Caddy (left) and Julius Troegele inspired a lunchtime club where students share and practice their skills.

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