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This follows on from Pebbles. You may need to have a go at
that problem first, it is intended for the most able
pupils.

Now you are in a planet of no
gravity. Pebbles placed in the air will stay there!

So, when we have eight pebbles we
can form a cube in mid-air with a pebble at each vertex:

(If you are struggling to see this, it might help to view the
black lines as the bottom layer; blue lines as ascending edges;
green lines as the top layer.)

We'll call this a cube of volume $1$.

Like the Pebbles activity,
you have to add the smallest number of new pebbles to double the
volume (rather than area) making cuboids (rather than rectangles)
each time. Pebbles must be equidistant from the next ones in the
same level. That is the pink, blue, green and black lines in the
diagrams below need to be all the same length.

So, the next two could be as shown here.

So remember:-

The rule is that you keep the pebbles that are there already
(not moving them to any new positions) and add as FEW pebbles as
necessary to DOUBLE the PREVIOUS volume. All have to be equidistant
so the third one CANNOT be like this;

Well, now it's time for you to have a go.

"It's easy,'' I hear you say. Well, that's good.

But what questions can we ask about the arrangements that we
are getting?

We could make a start by saying, "Stand back and look at the
shapes you are getting. What do you see?''

I guess you may see quite a lot of different things. It would
be good for you to do some more of this pattern. See how far you
can go.

Well now, what about some questions to explore?

Here are some I've thought of that look interesting:

1. How many extra pebbles are added each time? This starts off
$4, 6, 9,$ . . .

2. How many are there around the outside? This starts off $8,
12, 18,$ . . .

3. How many are there inside? This starts off $0, 0, 0,$ . .
.

4. How big is the surface area? This starts off $6, 10, 16,$ .
. .

Can you find a way of knowing how the numbers progress for
these type of questions?

Try to answer these, and any other questions you come up with,
and perhaps put them in a kind of table/graph/spreadsheet
etc.

Do let me see what you get - I'll be most interested. Don't
forget the all-important question you should ask - "I wonder what
would happen if I ...?''