Sunday, August 24, 2014

18 cubes + 6 colors + 1 elastic = Countless Hours of Math-y Fun!

We recently bought a What'zit*. A What'zit is officially a fidget toy. But, as my 9yo said, after playing around with it for a day: "It's a math toy, Mama. It's sort of like a Rubik's cube."

Here's what it looks like.  Actually, I'm calling this one Rectangle 0.

There are only 18 cubes but we have had a huge amount of fun working within these constraints! My first question was to see how many balanced/even designs I could make. I quickly noticed factors and multiples in every design.

Here's Rectangle 1:

Here's Rectangle 2:

My kid saw me making Rectangle 2. The next day she said, "Mama, I'm going to make a square like you did.  Oh, wait...this is harder than I thought [counting the cubes] 1, 2, 3, 4, 5...1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6...[repeating the count just to make sure]. It's not a square. It's actually a rectangle."

The color patterns in this thing are fascinating too. For example, here's a 3x6 rectangle.

Here it is again. What's the difference?

The colors highlighted the number patterns. Above there are 3 sixes, grouped two different ways. These two pictures are of the same cube, but from different angles:


My kid spent a happy day experimenting with different configurations, like these:

We also made different kinds of zig zags:

And then did some double zig zags:

I love how she off set this!


*Like any other product I talk about on this blog, I discovered this toy on my own am sharing our experience in the name of math fun and discovery. I never review products for compensation of any kind.

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