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How to teach a child to solve a 3x3

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Ok, so I saw a post on the OAQT about how to teach a young one how to solve a cube. A while back, I started to teach my little half-sister (with ADHD to the extreme) how to solve, and I taught OLL successfully until she needed moved a little farther away so I couldn’t finish. So I thought I would type up a guide! I hope that it will help you guys teach some kids!

For each step, it is important to break it up into easy segments so that they understand. I also always left the cross on the bottom, it is sorta silly not to.
I also worked from the top down. The reason that I did this is that you learn more about the cube from OLL and PLL, so F2l is less distracting.
Also, as an added step that is unnecessary, you can teach them the terms OLL, PLL, and F2L. OLL and PLL mean that they learn a new word which is always fun, and F2l is pretty self explanatory.
Step 1: Sexy Move
I started by showing her sexy move. I nicknamed sexy move as special move as little kids will laugh if you say sexy… It is a fun thing for them to practice, even with finger tricks! It tended to grab her attention as well as teaching her something that will help for EO.

OLL:
Step 2: EO Part 1
I started with recognizing the shapes for each kind of thing.
There was Bar, solved, Dot, and L.
She would simply tell me where to put the shape and what it is called. We would do a back and forth where I would make a case and she would tell me what it is called and how to put it as soon as possible.
Bar:
If you see a bar, than make it like a table.
L:
If you see an L, than put it like a gun (correct Edges in F and R) (Or replace it with something recognizable).
Dot:
If all there is a dot, then it doesn’t matter which way it goes.
Solved/Cross:
If you see a cross, then you don’t have to worry about it at all.
Important Fact: Do not teach them how to solve it yet, it is going to be overwhelming.





Step 3: CO Part 1
Then there is CO. I made up some names for each one and how to hold them. She seemed to like the strange name “sune” so I left sune, anti sune, and double sune, but I will provide other names for it:
Fish Cases:
I told her to imagine the anti sune and sune like fishes. They were all swimming up to the top of the water (to the left of course, but she had no problem with that). She looks at the top right (in the back) to see if it is an anti-sune or a sune:
Anti Sune:
This can be nick named the fast fish. Do the algorithm they will learn later only once and you are done!
Sune:
This can be nick named the slow fish. The reason that it is the slow fish is that you have to do the algorithm twice. If you would like, you could leave it out entirely as it is held the same way as the fast fish. There could really be no reason of knowing about it.
Tree Cases:
These are the cases where two adjacent corners are oriented. It is broken up into:
Chameleon:
For this, you see that there are two eyes that are pointing outward like a chameleon. Like seeing the side of a chameleons face, you put the eyes towards you on the left.
Headlights:
Just like when driving a car, the lights point forward! You can tell this apart because instead of seeing the two eyes, you see the pair of lights.
Bow tie Case:
For this set, there is only one case, the bow tie. It is easy to recognize, but I had trouble figuring a way to remember how to hold it. In the end, I basically said to hold it so that the one in the bottom right was unsolved. Check to make sure the front is also unsolved, and if not, try the other one.
Cross Cases:
I broke this up like this:
T case:
You can recognize this by seeing the T and holding it that way.
I case:
Also called the double headlight case, you hold it like an I.

And that is all the cases! It may take a bit of time to teach this, but it certainly works. I wrote down each case to show her what they looked like. I then would give her a case to see how quickly she could recognize it, like a game.
I then combined the games. I showed her a completely scrambled OLL. She would tell me the Edge case name and how to hold it. I would solve it, and she would tell me the Corner case name and how to hold it. It was pretty good practice
For anyone who is interested, the full tree is as follows except for the bow tie case which I accidentally forgot a U2 for.


Step 4: CO part 2:
After learning all the shapes, I taught the first algorithm (not counting sexy move as an algorithm…)
The idea when teaching an algorithm to a little kid is to NOT use muscle memory. While anybody older is perfectly able to take the time to engrave it in muscle memory, this is too time consuming and will cause the child to become very very bored with it.
The algorithm that I taught was an anti-sune using the BL pair, R’ U’ R U’ R’ U2 R. I taught it as: Down, Over, Up, Over, Down, Over Over, Up.
Down is pretty self-explanatory, Down means moving the right side down, R’.
Up is the same way, signifying R.
Over just means U’. It sort of makes sense when talking about the top.
After showing them this cool new algorithm, show them that if they do it with the shapes they learned, it will eventually solve it! You can add emotion to the Shapes if you would like by calling the chameleon, headlights, and bowtie Bad Cases, while calling everything besides the fast fish Middle Cases¸and finally the Fast Fish a great case.
The nice part is that they already know how to hold it! Just recognize the case, hold it in the right way, and then do the new algorithm. After 1,2, or 3 times, it will be done.
This is a fairly easy step as it is easy to remember “Down Over Up Over Down Over Over Up.” It can be easy to mix the words up at first, but after just a bit, it can be engraved.

Step 5: EO part 2:
Now is time to put that special move to the test!
Bar:
Move the front, do the special move and move it back!
L:
Move the front two, do the special move and move it back.
Dot:
Do it like the Bar. Now you will have an L.

This takes a little bit of time to get, but it is a fairly easy step.
Now try to give them an OLL scramble. See if they can get it, and if they can, congratulate them!
They just learned OLL! Practice giving many OLL scrambles, and ask for the name of it at Each Step.
PLL:
Ok, for this part, it is easiest to put the cross back on top as the algorithm is easiest to explain. Show how all the colors on top are right, but the colors on the side are all jumbled up.
Part 5: Corner Permutation:
I started by teaching an algorithm. The algorithm is x’ R D’ R U2 R’ D R’ U2 R2 x. I think the best way of teaching it is:
Out, Out, Out, Back Back, In, In, Out, Back, Back, Side, Side.
With a few notes:
*Start with the Right Side
*All of the outs and ins switch which side you are doing
*Look at the top before doing it.
Now, note a few things. At the end, I put side side so the alternation is not confused. The reason that I wrote it like this is because it is how I remembered the algorithm when I was 11. I asked my brother what the algorithm was and he off handedly showed me the algorithm on the computer screen. I had no paper, so I remembered it like this. It is simple to remember, and it is effective.
Now to use the algorithm.
This is broken up into 3 types:
Lots of Headlights:
For the cuber, this is the EPLL variety. This step is already done, congratulations!
One Headlight:
For the cuber, this is the T perm, J perm variety. Face the headlights and do the algorithm.
No Headlights:
For the cuber, this is the Y perm, N perm variety. Do the algorithm randomly and you will get One Headlight.

Now, this is all the cases for it. The hardest part about the step should be learning the algorithm, but it should not be a completely killer.

Part 6: Edge Permutation
To start, show them how now you will have a lot of the stickers in the middle that are wrong, but Everything else is correct. This step is broken up like this (The algorithm is at the end):
4 stickers are wrong:
Do the algorithm randomly and you will get a 3 sticker case.
3 stickers are wrong:
Now look which direction the stickers need to go and do the algorithm based on that.
2 stickers are wrong:
Someone has a little kid that likes to peel the stickers…
No stickers are wrong:
You have Solved the cube (Well, except for your older brother/sister’s help with the f2l :p)!!
Edge Permutation algorithms:
Cross on Bottom:
I think a nice one to learn would be “M2 (Opposite way) M U2 M’ (Opposite way) M2”, the conjugates “M2 U’/U M U2 M’ U’/U M2”
So if it goes to the left, you would move the top to the left. I would teach it like “Up Up Turn Down Double Up Turn Up Up”, or if it goes to the left it would be “Up Up Left Down Double Up Left Up Up”
Cross on top:
You could Do the same thing as the Cross on bottom, but rotating the moves (M2 Bottom the right way M’ U2 M Bottom the right way M2), but if you really want the cross to stay on top (from the rotation for CP), I learned “F2 (Whichever way on bottom) L’ R F2 L R’ (Opposite of whichever way it needed to go) F2”. It is up to you though, as Obviously slice turns suck on a lot of cubes.
Ok, so it has been a long journey for the last layer, but now the hard part is over (for the most part).
Next is the Edges of the second layer. I know I still haven’t jumped into cross yet, but I would think that it would be incredibly overwhelming without previous knowledge of the cube, so we continue:
Part 7: Edges of the second layer
Now, there are two ways of doing this. First, lets talk about algorithms. Ill talk about using them at the end (although you should teach that first) The usual algorithm, U R U’ R’ U’ F’ U F is probably a good idea, but you could also use the two-gen ones like R' U' R' U' R' U R U R.
The idea for this, though, is to teach the two algorithms as if they are one, similar to edge permutation, so it would be more work to teach the two gen one. I think the best way for the first one is:
Away Up Towards Down (Flip to the opposite side of the place where the edge goes) Away Up Towards Down.


The algorithms below the two cases are based on holding it from the red side there. The best way to do it is to hold with the piece you are trying to solve it in front of you (so that the algorithm makes sense. Say you have the second case.
You are trying to get it to the Left side, so it would be U’ (moving the top away) L’ (moving the Left Side Up) U (moving it towards) L (moving left side down) y’ (flip to the other side of the edge, note that you are now trying to get it in the right) U (moving it away) R (Moving the side Up) U’ (Moving it towards it) R’ (moving the side Down)
If you are intent on using the two gen one, I would suggest like this:
Hold it on the opposite side of the place where you are trying to get it in than the edge is (Probably a better way of putting that…) and do Down Away Down Away Down Towards Up Towards Up. This correlates to R’ U’ R’ U’ R’ U R U R and L U L U L U’ L’ U’ L’.

Ok.. But how should we teach how to use them…
Well to start, show how you can move the middle until you get a little T, and this Always happens. Next show them all the little empty spots that need to be filled. Show how there is a color to the right and to the left of it. Have them find it by looking all over the cube. If it is where another one should go, just try to find another. Once you find one on the top, make a big T with it. The person can then do the algorithm. If they ever get stuck, they can just make a T with a random one.
Part 8: A little bit of teaching…
Ok, now I think is a good time to do a little bit of teaching that will help with the cross. For this, just teach the opposite colors. I would recommend the standard scheme, but you can teach what you want. The standard scheme of course is:
Blue-Green
Yellow-White
Red-Orange
And the other scheme is
Blue-White
Green-Yellow
Red-Orange
Again, your choice, but the standard is obviously better. Teach the correlation and then try playing a game where you shout out a color and they will respond as quickly as they can with the opposite color. Also try pointing to a sticker on the cube and then asking them to point out a sticker that is the opposite. I will explain the reason that this is a nice thing to teach shortly…
Ok, so now the First Layer! Finally, you are almost done teaching. We can start with the cross and insert corners using the trusty special move.

Part 9: Cross
In order to make this easier, I am going to break this up in two steps:
Part 9a: Daisy
At the beginning, ask them to look for the side that has the most stickers in the middle (edges) that have the Opposite Color next to the center. This is the side we are going to use. The idea is to get all of the opposite edges on to one side. The White/Yellow version of this looks like a daisy, but hey, why would you start them out non-color neutral? That is just mean, I learned first as non-color-neutral and it is completely natural to me.
But this step is going to be a learning process. Remember though, you are ONLY looking at one side and trying to make a daisy, don’t worry about the other side of the edge or the corners. It should look like one of these:


Have the person practice making the daisy. This is a lot easier to make than a cross as you just have to worry about one sticker at a time (as most people try to do).

Part 9b: Cross
Ok, so now what they need to do:
Line up the other side of each edge with a center and twist that face twice until non of the opposite colored edges are there. Now the cross is solved on D. I made this up a while ago as a little trick that lot easier to learn than building a cross.
Have them practice lining up the edges as quick as possible.
Part 10: Corners
Ok, now the person just needs to go around and find all the pieces that have that opposite color on them (now the cross). Once that piece is found, look on the other two colors of that piece and find where it needs to go (search for the two centers).
If needed, do the special move until it is on top (if it isn’t already). After that, put it right in between the two centers that you found and do the special move until it matches. Do this for all the corners.
If it is easier, start by putting corners with the top color in each slot so that you never have any confusion when doing it. It is also an easier way of saying “do the special move until it is in the top (and also never have a solved one…). It may be easier for the person.
This is just something that needs to be done over and over for them, there is no real practicing much.
Ok! So now after all this, we have the _entire_ process done! Hopefully you have perservered to the end to teach the child how to do this, to teach them a very valuable( =) ) skill.

Thanks, and if you have any suggestions, let me know.
 
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PedroSG
#2
I didn't read it all yet, but I wonder why you taught her the antisune alg instead of the sune one, which is faster for pretty much everyone. Or maybe I'm wrong.

But I do teach begginers both of them. Since they just invert every R and U move, it's not that hard.

Also, I don't like to just teach the algs for the middle layer. I prefer to show what's going on, so that they can understand and find their way in case they forget the alg.

Using sexy move over and over for the first layer corners is also not good, in my opinion. I teach to insert corners on the right or left, turning the face where the 1st layer color is. If the sticker is pointing up, just do R U2 R' to move it to the side and insert.


But I guess there is no perfect way to teach people. I've only taught people which are like 15 or older, never tried small kids. But I imagine they tend to like it more if it's not just a bunch of letters and formulas, but instead something they can understand and do on their own.
One thing I've used with my college mates is drawing the moves (a square with an arrow showing which side to turn) instead of writing notation. Worked well. But I also taught 2 girls just by showing the moves, no drawing or writing.
 
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#3
I skimmed over most of it and it looked pretty good, but on EO part 2, you have the L and you say front 2 and then special move and then front 2. Shouldn't you do front, special move 2 and then front? Other than that, I am pretty sure that it looks alright.
 
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Thread starter #4
I skimmed over most of it and it looked pretty good,
Thank you :D
but on EO part 2, you have the L and you say front 2 and then special move and then front 2. Shouldn't you do front, special move 2 and then front?
Nope, If you notice in part 1, it is held like a gun. f sexy f' solves it like that. You could also hold it in the top left and do double sexy or reverse sexy, but it is easier to do f sexy f'. I do now realize that I need to specify which direction the gun points :p

Oh, messed the comment (Edited in):

I didn't read it all yet, but I wonder why you taught her the antisune alg instead of the sune one, which is faster for pretty much everyone. Or maybe I'm wrong.
Well, they are basically the same to beginners, however I find anti sune to be WAY faster than sune because I do double flick with my left hand so I basically do double flick double flick with my left hand and go up and down with my right, incredibly fast. It is just the one I know better and already have the chart for.
Also, I don't like to just teach the algs for the middle layer. I prefer to show what's going on, so that they can understand and find their way in case they forget the alg.
I think it is a little hard for young ones..
Using sexy move over and over for the first layer corners is also not good, in my opinion. I teach to insert corners on the right or left, turning the face where the 1st layer color is. If the sticker is pointing up, just do R U2 R' to move it to the side and insert.
True, however it is an incredibly easy concept to get.

But I guess there is no perfect way to teach people. I've only taught people which are like 15 or older, never tried small kids. But I imagine they tend to like it more if it's not just a bunch of letters and formulas, but instead something they can understand and do on their own.
One thing I've used with my college mates is drawing the moves (a square with an arrow showing which side to turn) instead of writing notation. Worked well. But I also taught 2 girls just by showing the moves, no drawing or writing.
Ah, I completely agree, but the idea is that it is a lot easier to understand if the algorithms are just done by long term auditory memory.
I have also tried using arrows, it is very effective yes. I find both pretty effective, however the arrows are a lot better if it is computer done, and I didnt have the time to make those :p
 
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#8
I taught a kid in 1st grade and several others in 4th grade. It's not too difficult if you know how to do it right. I'm too lazy to read all of what you wrote and comment on it, but good luck. If you want any tips, you could probably PM me and I'll get to it when I have time (AKA when I'm not busy doing loads of homework).

EDIT:

Step 1: Sexy Move
I started by showing her sexy move.
lolawlol. As if that doesn't make you sound like a pedophile.
 
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CrazyBadCuber

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#10
I have also made a complete video series for how to solve a rubiks cube for beginners. If anybody finds this useful then I've done my job =)

 
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