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How would you teach the intuitive steps of solving the Rubik's Cube?

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Hello all, this weekend I will be driving 11 hours to get to New Orleans where I will board a 7-day cruise. During this 11 hour trip my girlfriend has told me that she wants me to try to teach her how to solve the cube. I have tried this before and it almost always ends up in her being mad at me (lol). The reason for this is that she can't do the intuitive first 2 steps (mostly the first) of the Cross and the Corners and it frustrates her (therefore it is my fault... haha). Of course I try to give hints and teach her about edge orientation and notation of the cube and all that, but she doesn't understand the basic concept of how to turn an edge from the Middle layer to the D layer to put it in place.
Example:
(It's not this exact case everytime, it's any piece of the cross. This is just an example.)
I do not know how to explain any further than to just say do F. (picture is rotated, I don't know why)
She understands once you make the move, but before hand she has no idea how to handle the above case. She is in no way stupid at all, I think it's quite the opposite, in fact. I think she over thinks it and weighs all the possible moves, but she is overwhelmed by all the colors and orientations and just the immense possibilities that her judgement is clouded and a case as easy as the above is extremely confusing without a little bit of experience.
And with corners, she can figure it out using the R U R' U' algorithm and a little bit of help with positioning the corner above the spot it needs to go. I haven't tried teaching any further then that yet because it becomes more algorithm dependent, and if she can't handle the intuitive part, I don't think she will be very well at the rest quite yet.


So my question is, how do you explain something this intuitive to someone? Do you just let them mess around with a cube for a little while so they can be comfortable with it first?
 
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#3
Hello all, this weekend I will be driving 11 hours to get to New Orleans where I will board a 7-day cruise. During this 11 hour trip my girlfriend has told me that she wants me to try to teach her how to solve the cube.
wait what. she wants you to teach her while you're driving?

on topic: I taught my friend how to solve F2L pairs intuitively in around 2 hours, so I would assume that that's possible in an 11 hour time span.

If you want to just teach her how to solve the first layer, I would watch youtube tutorials and observe how they explain it simply. I would usually just say to tell her to match up, for example, the blue-white edge with the blue center, and rotate that face until the white touches the white center. Do a few example solves of crosses, and she should catch on pretty quickly, I'm guessing.

Don't make it too complicated with notation quite yet. Good luck!
 
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#5
What I tell people basically is just to make a pair and insert it. This usually weeds out the people who aren't going to try.
I've told someone the concept of doing that, and they spent the next half hour trying to do it by themselves.

No no no I'm not driving lol! We will both be in the back seat while my parents drive.

Notation is complicated? I learned notation well before my first solve.
Oh okay. Well, I didn't really like using notation (still don't xD) for stuff, mainly because D and B and their inverses were confusing for me. After teaching a couple people, I've found that saying "The bottom face" makes it more clear than just B.
 
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Oh okay. Well, I didn't really like using notation (still don't xD) for stuff, mainly because D and B and their inverses were confusing for me. After teaching a couple people, I've found that saying "The bottom face" makes it more clear than just B.
B and D still confuse me too. I just think how would F or U work, and then apply the opposite direction to its opposite face (B or D respectively)

And I do say bottom and right and all that, I just want her to understand that if you rotate the cube, the bottom face changes. :)
 

kp

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#7
Perhaps do something like this. Based on reverse understanding:

Give her a cube with a solved cross, and ask her to take out any one of the 4 pieces with one move. Ask her to study it, then take the cube away for a couple seconds and let her think about it. Give the cube back as is (with one cross piece out of position) in a random orientation, and ask her to put the cross piece back.

Once she's comfortable with this, you could go for taking the cross piece out with two moves, and later, taking 2 pieces out, and learning to ignore the other piece while you put in the first (for the time being, I know this isn't very good for speedsolving :p ).

This should be helpful in learning how to do it on a completely scrambled cube. Look at only one cross piece, think of how it's similar to what you did in practice, and get the intuition. At least, this is how I started out (improvising myself after watching badmephisto's cross video).

Leave notation until you come to the last layer steps. Edge orientation and such should be left for long afterwards, IMO. I only found out what edge orientation was after learning full PLL. :eek: (that too for having a go at ZZ)

Edit: This was intended for the trouble with "how to turn an edge from the Middle layer to the D layer to put it in place."
 
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#8
For the cross, teach her how to get white edges on yellow side, then just simply use U turns to orient the right edge pieces with the right centers and then F2 each side with the correct center to end up with white cross. The pro of this method is that when you're putting the white edges on the yellow side it doesnt matter in which permutation you put them. The second step takes care of that. You basically minimize the intuitive part of the cross solving.

For the corners there's an algorithm R' D' R D (white on top).

Cross is the only intuitive part of the cube if you just want to get the thing solved.

For the rest just use simple algorithms. Corners are in place, use algorithm to place edges next to those corners to form F2L. Then just 1 algorithm to get the yellow cross, sune-algorithm to get OLL done and 2 PLL algorithms (I used J(b) and U(a/b) to finish). Once she gets the hang of it this method can be sub 1 min. My personal best with it was like 48 seconds, and then I moved to F2L.
 
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#9
After making several 3x3x3 solutions, my latest one can be found here: 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube Solution.

I used very little writing (so people who don't even understand English can use it...just that they have to know that the moves are from left to right, top to bottom), the move notation is not in letters, all necessary cases for the first layer are addressed, and I used only the subset of moves shown on page 3 (no B, E, M or S moves...I technically have algorithms which use M, but I do it in terms of r and R...on the last page).

There are many algorithms in this solution, but I specifically designed this solution to be a precise, straight forward, and easy solution for beginners to solve the cube without that much thinking...memorizing all of the algorithms in the PDF was not my intention for my readers.

If you do want to print this out, print it so that two pages from the PDF are on one letter size paper (landscape page orientation) or print it as a book as I made the cube images large enough that they are still easily visible like this (and you save paper).

If anyone has any feedback, I would be interested to hear it.
 
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#10
I thought my friends just to solve one face/layer at first( I ask them to do just 1 face if they have trouble figuring out).
No need for the cross just one layer by themselves.If they can't do it I won't continue with the next lesson.
This teaches them how to think/intuition. Of course if they get stuck I'll help them out.They improved rapidly after that.

I suggest you not to teach her algs with notations such as R U R' and so on. Maybe you should explain like this "So you turn this side up and the corner gets connected to the edge and then bla bla bla... " . Learning notations for algs is not necessary for a beginner unless he or she wants to get faster. If you want to teach algs you should instead explain what face to move ( or maybe just let that person watch you perform the alg slowly ) and for the memo of long algs ( last layer ) go for the pattern of the cube like a block and so on.

I really can't explain it well. The best way to learn is by yourself.Spoiling yourself with algs on how to solve the 1st and 2nd layer is just not right.Say if you've messed up an alg but as a beginner you don't know how to go back and fix it you have to work hard and do that step again. But if you've learned intuitively you'd know where the piece go how to improvise when you've made a mistake.. xD
 
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#11
My opinion is that these people do not want to understand the cube. They just want to know how to solve to appear like they understand it.

I learned the cube with algorithms. I then got interested in the cube and started inspecting what the algorithms actually do and how they work. After I had learned what is possible and what is not possible to do intuition came much easier. If you teach the algorithms first they will learn intuition on their own if they are interested in understanding how the cube works. If they dont bother, they atleast know how to solve it in a mechanical step-by-step method, which is probably enough for most.

Forcing people to learn intuition is like forcing them to like cubing. I dont really that is the case with most of the people who just see you solving a cube and want to do the same.
 
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#12
Forcing people to learn intuition is like forcing them to like cubing. I dont really that is the case with most of the people who just see you solving a cube and want to do the same.
no no no you misunderstood me.
how can I explain.... ok most of my friends doesn't understand a single **** when I show them some algs or even try to teach them the cube notations. The algs makes them feel that cubing is a complicated and scary thing.
Forcing people to learn intuition is not my intention , I just want them to get a bit of intuition so that later on in the learning process it'll be easier for them to learn. I mean is solving one face really hard for a non-cuber .. it shouldn't take too long for them to do it.
 

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#13
I agree with the "make a daisy" technique. Put all the white edges on the yellow center, match up, half turn

I also like "car in garage". Open the garage, put the car in, close the garage. Also known as (x y x') or for example (R U R')

And take the cube apart and make her put the pieces for the cross in 1 by 1.

I also like the tip from kp. A variation would be to make a cube that only has stickers on the centers and the 4 white edges (maybe even just the 1 white center and 4 white sides of an edge)

But most importantly, let her play with the puzzle a bit before teaching. That is called puzzling!
 

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#14
If she can't intuitively figure out how to solve the cross then she can't be able to solve the cube, ever. Not everyone can grasp how to solve the cube. Not that she's not smart it's just that her spatial awareness isn't that good.
 

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#15
First step: take the cube apart and show her how it works. Explain the fixed centers; that you solve pieces not stickers; edges and corners are different, etc. Lots of beginners are hindered by just making wrong assumptions about fundamentals.
 

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If she can't intuitively figure out how to solve the cross then she can't be able to solve the cube, ever. Not everyone can grasp how to solve the cube. Not that she's not smart it's just that her spatial awareness isn't that good.
Sure she can, you make it sound like the cross is the easiest part of the solve. It is actually the hardest
 
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#17
1) Teach her basic notation, but you don't have to stress it as most new cubers have a hard time adjusting.
2) Disassemble the cube and show her how corners can't be swapped with edges or centers. Also, that it is important to pay attention to center stickers to tell what color that side will be once solved.
3) Teach her the Mao method solving a cross.
4) Use the sexy move to insert corners
5) Use U R U' R' U' F' U F and its mirror to insert edges. This is a simple F2L alg, so explain to her how you're "pairing" pieces and then inserting.
5) Teach her the F/f R U R U' F/f' for LL
6) Teach her the sune alg so she can cycle OLL's
7) Use the J(b) perm and U perms to finish LL

Hope this helped! I've tried teaching some of my friends and...it never works. Don't forget to post a pic of the solved cube!
 

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#19
Sure she can, you make it sound like the cross is the easiest part of the solve. It is actually the hardest
That's why I wrote "If she can't intuitively figure out how to solve
the cross then she can't be able to solve the
cube, ever." My neighbor is a straight A student and she just couldn't grasp how to get the cross done, after one week of trying. I explained it once to my brother and in ten minutes he did the first layer.
 
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My neighbor is a straight A student and she just couldn't grasp how to get the cross done, after one week of trying. I explained it once to my brother and in ten minutes he did the first layer.
Intelligence =/= spatial awareness or cubing ability.

I taught my ex girlfriend at uni how to solve the cube using a weird beginner's method I used at the time. Took a LONG time and a LOT of patience, and the hardest thing was getting her to understand the concept of the cross. Bearing in mind she spoke 8 languages fluently, had never got a grade below an A in her life, and a few months later graduated with joint 1st class honours from Oxford. Pretty smart girl.

My favourite explanation is the concept that the cube is made up of 3 axes (plural of axis, not three axes as used by lumberjacks, that would be weird), which meet in the centre. These axes are fixed, and the other pieces rotate around them. The cross is solved by moving pieces from an incorrect axis onto the correct one, with the correct flip/orientation. In order to correct the flip/orientation, you just need to take them OFF the correct axis, turn the adjacent axis, then return them to their correct axis again. :)

Demonstrate the movement of the pieces AROUND the axis by doing R2/whatever2 on a solved cube. Let them play with the cube for a while.

I think it just requires persistence and patience to teach anyone to solve the cube. As the saying goes - there's no such thing as a bad teacher, only a bad student. If you get frustrated with the student then they will give up. With enough patience, you can find the method that give the 'Eureka' moment for anyone solving the cube, whether they understand it mathematically, algorithmically, spatially, or what have you.

As an example, I used the axes explanation with my brother-in-law, who's a mechanic and high-school dropout. He understood immediately and solved the cross straight away (in about a minute). He then proceeded to solve the white face (albeit completely wrongly, but one face all the same colour!) with no further guidance. I showed him his mistake and he understood.

So a mechanic with little education can 'get' the concept in minutes, while it took me weeks to get through to a girl with a genius level IQ. Go figure!

Then again, the person has to want to learn. If she's not interested, make sure she's got a book/ipod/ejector seat, because 11 hours in the back of a car is a long time, especially when the car isn't parked, and your parents are in the front!!!
 
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