ANN ARBOR – On Monday afternoon, five sixth grade students from Slauson Middle School, accompanied by their teacher Kim Jaster, donated a box of handmade puzzle cubes to children undergoing treatment at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.
The students spent about two weeks designing and building the cubes, which look like Rubik's Cubes but, instead of twisting, they come apart in geometric puzzle pieces.
Each cube is different, both in how it fits together and its color schemes, and comes in a custom-designed box.
"The process was really fun," said sixth grader Lauren Fortini. "I liked doing the isometric sketches because we got this cool magic paper and it was just really fun because we got to make all these different shapes. And then once we started doing our puzzle cube, we did multiviews and we made the key for it, so only we knew how to solve the puzzle."
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Once the students had a prototype ready, they received 27 wooden blocks to glue together. "Each one of them have their own sign and it is very specialized," said Slauson teacher Kim Jaster.
"My favorite part of this project was designing the cubes on paper," said student Carsten Welsh. "I liked coloring the different sides. That was fun for me. My puzzle has one color on each side to kind of help give a hint."
Jaster said that her students jumped at the chance to deliver the cubes to the hospital in person.
"You should have seen the kids when I asked them to come," she said. "They were so excited to come and be able to donate and give back to the community."
Student Olivia Bevilacqua said knowing the cubes could help keep patients receiving treatment engaged in something challenging and fun was the most rewarding part of the project.
"It feels amazing because I know that not every kid gets to have the lucky experience of going to school or playing sports or just doing what they would like and have to be here," she said. "But to give them something challenging that they can use their brain to do just feels really great."
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