## Introduction: Geometric Puzzle Blocks

## Step 1: Supplies:

- 25 or 36 Wood blocks
- 2 contrasting colors of Paint
- Paint brush

I bought the blocks at Dollar Tree--9 to a package means that my blocks cost $4. If you cut your own cubes from scrap lumber, it doesn't even cost this much.

I used gray primer spray paint because I found a can in the garage. I used white acrylic as my alternate color.

You may want to use tape to mask off areas that you don't want painted. I just worked free hand.

## Step 2: First Color

I sprayed 5 sides of each cube with the gray primer. This did a nice job of covering up the latter's and numbers that were painted on my blocks.

## Step 3: Second Color

When the primer was dry, I flipped over each block and painted the remaining side with white acrylic paint. It took 2 coats.

When that was dry, I turned all the blocks and painted this next side half white on the diagonal. Again it took 2 coats.

When that was dry, I painted a quarter circle on the next side.

The next side was painted so that half of the side with a white rectangle.

The last side was the most challenging to paint free hand. I had to leave a quarter circle of the gray and paint the curved background at one corner.

## Step 4: Using the Blocks

I found several designs on line with suggestions of patterns/designs that can be made from the cubes. This is a good starting point. The kids are supposed to try to replicate the design using the cubes. You can have 2 sets so that they can race to complete the design first.

Once the kids have had a chance to get used to the cubes, I let them sketch their own designs.

## Step 5: Class Set

One of the kids from our S.T.E.A.M. club owns the game called Q-bitz. These cubes are decorated just a little differently. (See picture.) These are a bit easier to paint since the dot can be made by dipping a cotton swab in the paint.

In the Q-bitz game, there are different directions for different rounds of the game. This encourages kids (and adults) to try to develop their skills. My favorite round is the one where everyone gets to look at the picture for 30 seconds. Then you have to try to reproduce the design without looking at the picture.

We are planning to make enough of the cubes that a class of 32 can play--that means 800 cubes if we use 25 cubes per child. We may resort to only 16 cubes per child--512 cubes total. We will probably enlist the kids in the club to help with the painting.

Does anyone know how latex allergies work? If we paint them with latex house paint (I have a bunch of leftover paint), and we get a kid with a latex allergy, will he/she be allergic to the dried paint???? If that is the case, maybe we should use acrylic??? Or maybe an acrylic sealer???