Puzzling it out: Milwaukee 7th-grader shares the secrets to the Rubik's Cube
Levi Edler, 13, shows off his skills solving the Rubik's Cube. For the second straight year, the Milwaukee boy will participate in a national Rubik's Cube competition this summer. Submitted
Who among us, upon seeing a Rubik's Cube, hasn't wanted to pick it up and effortlessly line up all those multi-colored squares perfectly?
And, how often have those squares tortured us as, after a few minutes of frustration, we throw the cube to the floor, certain that the only people who can solve these puzzles are math geniuses?
Well, according to 13-year-old Milwaukee Public Schools student Levi Edler, who can solve the cube consistently in nine seconds, and, whose personal best is just over six seconds, anybody can do it.
While his mom, Molly Snyder, points out that Levi, who takes ninth-grade math classes at Golda Meir, is actually quite gifted at math, Levi says the ability to solve the cube has nothing to do with math.
"It's not math that helps me do this. I've told my mom this 20,000 times; it's just memorizing the sequence of moves and practicing. I think people who are good at math may like to do it more and try to solve it more than other people, but it's not about math at all. The real key is having patience. A lot of people get frustrated and just give up. If you give up too easily, you'll never be able to solve it. It's really about perseverance."
Although Levi taught himself to solve his first Rubik's Cube about two years ago with the help of online videos, he found that method of learning left something to be desired. He says, "There are a lot of videos on the internet, but if you end up having questions, you don't get them answered, and you can end up getting too confused to figure it out."
So Levi took matters into his own hands and started his own classes where he spends two to three hours about once a month sharing his knowledge, and best of all, he's right there to help out and answer questions. Levi wrote up his own handout of instructions for solving the cube, and he spends the class walking through it with his students.
He says that all ages of people sign up for his classes, and almost all of them are able to solve the cube by the end of the class... although, admittedly not as quickly as Levi himself is able to, something that is made quite clear by the fact that he competed in the Rubik's Cube nationals last summer, and is set to return to the competition in Indiana this summer.
Levi explains that there are multiple categories for people to enter in the competition, including two that he's planning on trying out: blindfolded and one-handed.
Although Levi has never won a competition, he's confident that he's getting better. And, win or lose, world record or not, Levi loves cubing and plans to continue on with his hobby.
Molly says, "I have never seen anyone so focused on something they enjoy. I know he's awake when I hear him cubing in the next room, and that he's fallen asleep when the sound of cubing stops."
For information about Levi's classes, check out The Waxwing's website.