Ready, Set, Cube!: Palmetto’s New Cubing Club

Sofia Strohmeier, Copy Editor

3.47 seconds: that is the record time to solve a traditional three-by-three-by-three Rubik’s Cube. Cubing acts as a fun pastime to pick up on once in a while, yet quick-minded, spatially intelligent, observant and mathematically oriented individuals take on cubing as a competitive sport and compete against other like-minded people to solve the puzzle quickly.

In 1974, Erno Rubik, a designer and architect from Hungary, developed an engaging cube deemed a “Magic Cube,” which later soared in popularity. The original cubes, made of wood, paper, and supported by glue, rubber bands and paper clips, eventually took form into the usual cubes used today, made of plastic and consisting of a wide variety of colors. After changing its name to the Rubik’s Cube, it became one of the best-selling toys in history, and has emerged into a skilled sport of “speedcubing,” initially organized in 1982 and called the World Rubik’s Cube Championship. 

At Miami Palmetto Senior High, cubing has recently earned its position among a niche of students who share an interest for solving all varieties of cubes in record times. To share the love for Rubik’s cubes with others, the Cubing Club took form.

“I have always been interested in solving a cube; a few years ago I didn’t know [how to] and I’m like ‘I’m going to learn’, [and then] I learned it and now I can solve it. It has always called my attention how interesting it is and how quickly it can be done,” MPSH Precalculus honors and Advanced Placement Computer Science teacher and sponsor of the Cubing Club Malena Quintela said.

MPSH junior, Sunny You, has always admired all courses and activities related to mathematics and science, and saw cubing as a great hobby to integrate that knowledge as well as develop an engaging activity and community, which led him to found the Cubing Club.

“I got into cubing, I think it was the second grading period of school. And then I saw that there are a lot of people who are interested in cubing as well. But there was no club, nothing where we could do this at school, so I’m like, ‘well, time to make this thing,’” You said.

MPSH’s Cubing Club members desired a way to share their passion for cubing and eventually compete in events throughout Florida. Cubing competitions gear one for success in completing a cube in a short period of time, and expose participants to a community full of people possessing the same unique interest. The World Cube Association, a global non-profit organization, hosts competitions for Rubik’s cubes, among other puzzles consisting of twisting different pieces. 

Events in a cubing competition consist of regular events of 2x2x2 up to 7x7x7, as well as blindfolded rounds, one-handed and multi-cube blindfolded. However, not all Rubik’s Cubes are the usual squares; there is also a “Megaminx,” in the shape of a pentagon, and a “Pyramix,” a pyramid puzzle. Currently, the club is looking to attend a field trip to Tallahassee to compete in a cubing competition in April, and officially establish their mark in the competitive cubing world as a school.

“For the future of this club, I hope that we can divulge not just like normal three-by-three because there are competitions for other events like two-by-twos up to seven and then other puzzles. So I hope this club can be a club where we can teach people, we can go to competitions together, we can all practice and all have fun. Also, [to] learn skills that are really important for future opportunities, like, cubing trains your critical thinking skills and fast reaction,” You said.

The cubing club meets every Tuesday in Quintela’s room to solve Rubik’s Cubes together and converse with the community they have fostered as a result.

“I didn’t expect it to be as popular and have students come every week, religiously, you know, to come in and learn about cubing. So that was interesting,” Quintela said. “This promotes algorithms, it promotes math in a sense. So I would love for more people to take an interest in this [and] kind of indirectly promote math and computer science [skills].”

Many students who never previously took on an interest in cubing have gained insight into the activity due to the club’s establishment, and have encountered a new hobby and meaningful space at MPSH.

“I joined [the club] because I always found cubing interesting and I wanted to learn more about it,” MPSH junior and Cubing Club member Henry Zimet said. “I just got into it. I like its pattern and I find it relaxing to just move the cube around.”

For MPSH students, cubing has no limits — it is a foundation of skills, it works the mind through a number of abilities and it nurtures a group of likeminded students who share passions and goals for both academics and solving Rubik’s Cubes. 

“It is a meaningful hobby because it’s not just like a competition. It’s not just a competition between like, ‘oh, who’s the best?’ ‘Who’s the second best?’ It’s a way to meet people around the world, and that’s what makes it amazing for me,” You said.