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O’Beirne’s Cube

O’Beirne’s Cube

This post is a bit of an experiment.

First of all, I want to tell you about and show you a put-together-puzzle called O’Beirne’s cube. This is not just any puzzle. It is one of the most amazing, delightful, and elegant puzzles ever invented. There are people who know about things like this who rank this puzzle among the top two or three such puzzles ever invented—in a class with the Soma cube, which is probably the best known of all the three dimensional put-together-puzzles. Tom O’Beirne, a mathematician, is the inventor and first described the puzzle in an article in the New Scientist in 1961. There is surprisingly little that has been written about the puzzle with the exception of a piece by Brian Butler titled O’Beirne’s Cube and Its Origins.

After you’ve watched the short video in which I show you the puzzle and demonstrate some of its features, I want to make you an offer.

We have met the limit of 30 people requesting a puzzle. Thank you so much for your interest in the puzzle. I look forward to more conversation about it with all of you.

For the first 30 people who:
1) make a comment to this blog post and
2) email to me rthiess@aimsedu.org your email and ground mail addresses, I will send you one of the puzzles free of charge.

In a couple of subsequent posts, after these 30 people have received their puzzle, I will spend some time looking at the mathematics that comes up in exploring the puzzle and the ways in which it can be used to promote student engagement in the kinds of activities described in the Common Core Practice Standards.

If you were not one of the first 30 people to comment on this post and you really want this puzzle and have access to a saw of some sort, in a quick post next week I will show you how to make the puzzle for yourself.

Click here for “Further Explorations with O’Beirne’s Cube”.

Click here for “How to Make Your Own O’Beirne’s Puzzle”.