Perhaps you would like to see the clip again in slow motion. Last year, the Rubik’s Cube turned 30 years old. Here is an activity for using the video of the word’s fastest Rubik’s Cube solve to teach numbers between 1 and 30.
- Language level: Beginner
- Learner type: Young learners; Teens; Adults
- Time: 20 minutes
- Activity: Betting game
- Topic: Rubik’s Cubes
- Language: Numbers (1 – 30)
- Materials: Video; Number flashcards
Lesson plan outline
To prepare for this activity, cut up the number cards which are provided in the PDF download.
Note that this activity will work best if you can take a Rubik’s Cube into class although this is not essential.
- Write the following numbers on the board and drill pronunciation of them:
- Tell students that you have a mystery object in your bag, behind your back, in your mind, etc. Tell students that the numbers on the board relate it.
- Give students the following clues about the mystery object and ask them to guess what it is by writing down answers rather than shouting them out:
- It has/It’s got 6 faces
- It has/It’s got 8 corners
- It has/It’s got 12 edges (teach students this word by running your finger along the edge of a table)
- It has/It’s got 54 stickers
- It was 30 years old last year (i.e. in 2010)
- Find out if anyone knows what the mystery object is. Show students your Rubik’s Cube or use an image search site to find a picture of one.
- Show students the first frame of the paused video. Tell them that the young man’s name is Feliks Zemdegs. Ask students to guess what he is going to do. Establish that he is going to set the world record fastest time for solving a Rubik’s Cube.
- Set up the video display on full-screen mode. In YouTube’s full-screen mode, titles are not displayed.
- Download the clip (with Savevid for example) and give it a new name.
- On the board, write and drill the following question: How many seconds does Feliks need to solve the Rubik’s Cube?
- Place all of the cards number-side-up on a table or on the floor. Invite students to take turns to choose a number (i.e. to choose their closest possible prediction). Let students take it in turns to pick up cards until there are none left. So, for example, if you have five students in the class, they will each end up with six cards.
- Place all of the cards number-side-up on a table or on the floor. Invite students to take it in turn to choose a number card which corresponds to their guess. Don’t just let them pick up one card each – let them take it in turn to pick up cards until there are none left. So, for example, if you have five students in the class, they will all end up with six cards.
- Every now and again, ask students to say the numbers that they choose before drilling the whole class’s pronunciation of the number.
- When all of the cards have been picked up, play the clip and find out who won. In this case it will be the student who chose the number 7 (the closest to 6.65).
6; 8; 12; 30; 36
Note that on YouTube, the title of the clip tells us the answer – i.e. that Felix solves the Cube in 6.65 seconds. Of course, it is very important that students don’t see this. There are two ways of getting around this problem:
Hold your finger to your lips to signal that you don’t want students to shout out their answers, especially if they have an idea about what the record is.
Play the game with the cards number-side-down. This way students then have no control over which numbers they pick. Once all cards have been picked up, give students the opportunity to swap numbers. However, they should do this by telling each other what numbers they have and not showing their cards. That way, students are given the opportunity to practice spoken production of the target language (i.e. the numbers) as well as listening. You may want to pre-teach some useful phrases:
- I have x / I’ve got x
- Who has y? / Who’s got y?
- Would you swap x for y?
Other videos that can be used for this activity
The Rubik’s Cube image used in this lesson plan was taken from Wikimedia Commons.