# Triple Cubes

This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the models together then compare your constructions.

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Here we have some arrangements of cubes. Each one is made of three cubes and is coloured differently. We will call these 'triples'.

What do you notice about them?

You could get 8 triple cubes like these, each triple a different colour. Don't separate the triple but use them as building blocks to see what you can make.

It would be good to keep the eight triple cubes facing the ways they are in the picture, and not turn them around. In this way, each triple will be different.

We can now use these as building blocks to make interesting arrangements and shapes. Here is one to start us off.

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Notice how I've joined them together with square faces touching. This might be the way that you decide to build.

Or, you may include some 'edge' joining like in this one:

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Now it's your turn! What can you make from these eight triple cubes?

You'll need lots of interlocking cubes for this challenge! It
would be good to make the eight shapes in eight different colours
if you can.

How will you put the shapes together?

Perhaps you could compare your construction with some else's? Or you could make another one and then look at what is the same and what is different about the two.

How will you put the shapes together?

Perhaps you could compare your construction with some else's? Or you could make another one and then look at what is the same and what is different about the two.

Jimmy from Freshwater State School managed to produce a rectangle that was $4$ by $8$. Well done Jimmy. I am guessing that many may have explored various shapes that they produced but did not feel they could send in their findings.

I would like to remind everyone that we are interested in what happens from the starting point - it does not have to be a final concluding result - but feel free to send them in.

### Why do this problem?

This activity is an engaging one which may give opportunities for pupils to expand their spatial capabilities. It uses non-standard shapes which must be put together, and so it stretches the imagination. Pupils will probably have had some experience of various construction materials, and this offers something just a bit
different.

### Possible approach

Having prepared interlocking cubes in eight different colours, invite one pupil in the group to select one, then another child to choose another and connect it in some way to the first. Then invite a third child to choose another and connect it, etc. When all eight pieces are assembled together, pose questions and prompts such as: "Tell me about this."; "What do you see?"; "Any ideas as
to what this could be?" ...etc. Try to use open questions which will not stifle creativity or be too directive.

Give children the chance to have a go on their own or in pairs. Plenty of interlocking cubes will be needed! Listen out for the way they describe their models and how they communicate with each other. Are they using appropriate vocabulary? Are they able to articulate where they are going to put the next shape? How are they going about the task?

Key questions

When they are making their own:

Tell me about this.

What are you making?

Do you have a name for this?

(Looking at theirs next to yours) Tell me about them.

### Possible extension

You could challenge some children to make:

the longest one;

the one with most/least area touching the ground;

a mirror image of someone else's (including the colours);

the longest shape that can be picked up by holding just one cube.

### Possible support

Some pupils may want to start with just four triple cubes and explore those first.