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Richland One students to complete in ‘speedcubing’ Rubik’s Cube competition

Richland One students work to solve the Rubik’s Cube.
Richland One students work to solve the Rubik’s Cube. Submitted

On Jan. 26 students from across Richland One will pick up one of the most popular puzzles in modern history, the Rubik’s Cube, to compete in the school district’s first-ever “speedcubing” competition. Produced by EngenuitySC, the event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at Hopkins Middle School, 1601 Clarkson Road, Hopkins.

Offering middle and high school students from across Richland One a fun, exciting way to sharpen mathematical thinking through practicing multiple algorithms, the contest challenges students to solve the Rubik's Cube as quickly as possible.

Though it first gained popularity in the early 1980s, the art of solving the Rubik’s Cube has slowly regained momentum over the past few years, aided by online publication of “quick-solve” methods on sites such as YouTube. The sport of speedcubing requires a student to learn and memorize algorithms — each an operation on the puzzle that reorients its pieces in a certain way — in order to quickly solve the cube. A typical solve will require memorization of more than 70 algorithms.

“Teachers love how Rubik’s League uniquely ties academics to an extracurricular activity,” said Dr. Sharon Newton, club sponsor at Hopkins Middle School. “And the students love the challenge and the competition.”

Officially sanctioned by Rubik’s, the speedcubing competition will include team and individual puzzle solving events. After only two months of practice, Richland One’s current record for fastest individual solve in practice is 56 seconds, held by a student at Hopkins Middle School. The world record for solving in competition is 4.22 seconds.

“Programs like Rubik’s speedcubing build foundational skills in algebraic thinking that can lead to later success in engineering and computer science,” said Meghan Hickman, executive director of EngenuitySC. “All the while, the kids are having a ton of fun.”