Aspen Students Create Rubik’s Cube Mosaics

Aspen Elementary School Librarian Jeff Lloyd with a mosaic of Principal Kathryn Vandenkieboom on display in the school’s library. Courtesy/LAPSF

LAPSF News:

Did you ever solve a Rubik’s Cube? It’s not as easy as it looks. Before Suzy Koehn started teaching a unit on the Rubik’s Cube, she had only ever solved one side, but the novel toy intrigued her as a teaching tool. 

A  Rubik’s Cube mosaic created by Suzy Koehn’s GATE students at Aspen Elementary. This  Abraham Lincoln mosaic was recently on display at Mesa Public Library. Courtesy/LAPSF

As a GATE teacher at Aspen Elementary School, Koehn has introduced her students to the Rubik’s Cube as a way to teach them about using different permutations and algorithms to solve the cube left and right. She wanted them to take the next step. What if the students could work 225 cubes together to create a picture? What if the students could work individually and then collectively in order form one mosaic?

Koehn did just that when she applied for and received a Great Ideas Grant from the Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS) Foundation.

This year, the students worked to create a mosaic of a notable historical figure and a leader they see every day. So, in addition to learning spatial reasoning skills, the completion of the mosaic added another dimension to the achievement. Much like the satisfaction received from seeing a completed puzzle as the last pieces are laid in place. 

Los Alamos Public Schools teachers interested in borrowing the set of cubes for teaching this unit to their students should contact Koehn at Aspen Elementary School.

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