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# Nine Colours

**If you have 27 small cubes, 3 each of nine colours, can you make a 3 by 3 by 3 cube so that each face of the bigger cube contains one of every colour?**

Unfortunately the third face has two greens, two blacks, no reds and no browns, so this is not a valid solution.

You might like to explore this problem using cubes. If you don't have any cubes, you could record your work on squared paper by drawing and colouring each layer, or use the interactivity below.

*Instructions:*

Choose a colour, and click on a square on the left to colour a cube on the right.

When you complete a face correctly, a "tick" will appear.

*You may also be interested in the other problems in our What if...? Feature.*
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Age 11 to 16

Challenge Level

In the picture, the top face and the left face have one of each colour.

Unfortunately the third face has two greens, two blacks, no reds and no browns, so this is not a valid solution.

You might like to explore this problem using cubes. If you don't have any cubes, you could record your work on squared paper by drawing and colouring each layer, or use the interactivity below.

Choose a colour, and click on a square on the left to colour a cube on the right.

When you complete a face correctly, a "tick" will appear.

Printable NRICH Roadshow resource.

Click here for a poster of this problem.

Imagine you are suspending a cube from one vertex and allowing it to hang freely. What shape does the surface of the water make around the cube?

Imagine you have six different colours of paint. You paint a cube using a different colour for each of the six faces. How many different cubes can be painted using the same set of six colours?