The World of Speedcubing – Richmond Rumble 2024

At the surface layer, speedcubing is solving a Rubik’s cube very fast. Many people think to do this, you need to be extremely smart, skilled, and dextrous. This is not the case; it’s actually a mix of pattern recognition, memory, and practice. Mainly practice. In this post I’ll tell you about how speedcubing works, a little bit of its history, and my latest competition.

The Rubik’s cube was invented by Erno Rubik born July 13, 1944 in Hungary. During his time as a professor at the Academy of Applied Arts and Design in Budapest, Hungary, he developed a prototype cube as an aid to teach group theory, as the cube did, and still does have over 43 quintillion possible states. “In late 1977 Konsumex, Hungary’s state trading company, began marketing it. By 1980 Rubik’s Cube was marketed throughout the world, and over 100 million authorized units, with an estimated 50 million unauthorized imitations, were sold” (source).

Erno Rubik (source)

Now that this seemingly simple, but actually very complex toy was available worldwide, many people had one, but few could solve it. It took Erno Rubik a month to solve for the first time! But over time, methods were developed, and guides published, and eventually the first cubing competition was held on March 1981 and on June 5, 1982 by Guinness World Records, and the first world championship was held in Budapest, Hungary where American Minh Thai won with a single solve time of 22.95 seconds and this record is generally considered as the First World Record of the Rubik’s Cube (Source).

Unfortunately, the next competition was not held until 2003, in Canada, after the founding of the WCA (world cubing association), and then the world record solve continued being broken until present day, with Max Park’s 3.13 solve at Pride at Long Beach 2023. But the Rubik’s Cube, known as the 3×3 in the cubing community, while being very reliable, was not very fast, this has lead to many other speed cubes being created, as well as many other events such as the 4×4 – 7×7, Skewb, Clock, 3×3 One-Handed, Megaminx, and Square-1.


I have competed in four competitions, but this is about the most recent: Richmond Rumble 2024. It went rather well, with the first event being 3×3; My best time was a 21.87, with an average of 24.90, which were both personal records (best time in competition)

Here was my best solve. I also did well in 2×2, with a 6.78 single, and and 7.77 average. Here was my best solve:

I did not make cutoff for 4×4, as it was very short. My best time was 1:49.86. I had a 43.17 single, and 56.72 adverage for 3×3 One-Handed. For the next cubing blog about my competition next month, I will go into more detail about how the competition works, and the methods used to solve the various cubes!

I hope you enjoyed.

18. April 2024 by James
Categories: Speedcubing Blogs | Leave a comment

It’s time for mPOLs!

It’s that time of year again, time for mPOLs! There has is a lot of things to reflect on so far this year, and many opportunities for growth so guess what? I’m going to tell you about them, because that’s kinda the point of mPOL’s. Welcome to another post:

During this school year, I have faced many challenges, broken many barriers, and learnt. A lot. I’m here to tell what exactly that I have learned, and what I can and will improve upon through the rest of this school year. 

I’m going to start by talking about some of my strengths and success so far this year. I think that one of my best projects was my thriller in Thrill Us!

It was definitely an improvement in quality from my Run! Remakes:

I think these projects really drilled the concept of revision into me, and I learnt a lot about videography and storytelling. We also had to create a storyboard:

It was a very fun project, and probably my favourite so far this year:

Another project that I think I grew a lot from was Metaphor Machines. It was a hard project that required a lot of group work and design skills. In the end, we had a relatively good end product for exhibition, but it wasn’t great. However many of the skills that I learnt and practiced in this project also transferred into Destination Imagination later on.

In D.I. I had to many things to play my part, and try to produce the best solution out of my team. Because of expanding my skills in earlier projects, I was able to create a solution in time for the first tournament, and then using the revision skills that PLP has taught me to upgrade our solution, and place first in the next tournament. I was really proud of our group solution, and how we preformed, and we were rewarded with wins in both the team challenge and the the instant challenge, and I think this is a great example of my growth as a learner so far this year.

I was also proud of my work in the “Rise of the Frankenstuffies” project, and the video created as our final product. I had a good work ethic, and produced a better result than I have on some other projects. I enjoyed working on the stop motion aspect, as this is something I enjoy, and have past experience with.

These skills were also aided and used in science this year for projects such as “Seeing Double” and “chemHistory”

Moving forward in this school year, I will try to improve on a few things:

I want to improve my organisation, and work ethic. I touched on this in my learning plan for this year, when I said that I wanted to “Work on distraction management more”. I also wants to speak up in class more, and work on building a growth mindset.

I will make revisions to my learning plan, so I have a plan to achieve the goals above, and I will also take steps going forward to make these changes such as:

– Organizing my notes and work in craft

– Managing my time by using to-dos and time blocking

– Sharing my ideas with the class more by working on confidence

– Using methods such as the pommodoro timer to stay on task when doing homework

I hope that you enjoyed reading about my plan for growth as a learner for the rest of this school year.

09. April 2024 by James
Categories: PLP project reflections | Leave a comment

D.I. Part 1

Why did I end up putting a staple into my hand for school (It wasn’t intentional)? Welcome to a new project! Destination imagination 2023-2024.

We had to complete the technical challenge: To create a pinball machine with 3 modules, and complete a pinball round, which also presenting a story about a hero’s journey. It took a long time and we struggled a lot with some parts of the team dynamic, but after a lot of brainstorming and work, we managed to get our machine ready for the first competition. However I did end up accidentally stalling my hand with a mechanical staple gun shooting industrial staples. Yay. 4 hours in the ER.

I can’t share details of our machines, because there will be another competition soon. It ended up going okay and some stuff broke, but it mostly worked and we placed 3rd in our category. I will provide more of a complete reflection after the next competition. Thanks to the team members who helped when then were needed.

15. March 2024 by James
Categories: PLP project reflections | Leave a comment

Rise of the one and only Bildat!

Now that may seem like an absurd title, and I am here to tell you now, it is! Good guess. So if you would like to figure out stuffed animals relate to World War I, read on!

This project was called Rise of the Frankenstuffies, focused on media creation with an element of World War I. Some of the competencies we focused on were communication and thinking. The driving question was “How do we as writers make our message clear and engaging to an audience?” We began by creating our Frankenstuffie, which was kind of fun.

A video showcasing the creation of my frankenstuffie: Bildat.

We also learned a load about sentence structure and lots of other ways to improve our writing. This included the hero’s journey; a way to structure adventure stories, that is present in many popular movies and books

We also conducted a novel study on the book “Leviathan”, a story about an alternate version of World War I with giant mechs and genetically engineered creatures which improved our writing and story-telling skills, and gave us inspiration for our frankenstuffie.

We then did a lot of initial character development, plot outlining, and we also devoloped the theme statements of our story.

I won’t give you the theme now, because of something later in the post. You’ll see.

For our next section of the project, we created our story frame, deciding on what part of our story we would focus on.

After this we wrote our story, which was hard, but I learnt a load about writing and editing a story that I can implement going forwards. Here was my story:

click here for my story:

A flash of light. A crash of thunder; it’s this dream again. The one where it all began. It starts the same every time, that night all those years ago, when they took me. They picked me up right off the side street and took me back to them; so many of them. I don’t know how long I was there, maybe a day, maybe a year. I was sedated most of the time; they didn’t want me awake. I didn’t want them to keep me awake with what they were doing to my body. Every time I woke up, I had a new limb, body, or ear, losing my identity. And it wasn’t just me; there were others too, undergoing the same modifications as me. The pain I felt was excruciating. The dream ends, fading to black.

As I awake, I take in my surroundings, thinking for one awful second that I’m back in the lab, but soon I come to my senses and realize that I am safe in my home. A rush of pride accompanies that thought as I remember that I alone can feel such a sense of pride in the animal kingdom. Something they did to me in the lab must have enhanced my feelings and thoughts; at least, that is my theory. But looking around what I’ve built makes me forget all that for a second as I take in the sections of dirt I burrowed out for rooms, the bed with its moss, and the window made out of that old tire I found. It’s not much, but it’s mine. But then my ears jump up as I hear a small sound coming from the door. No one has found this place before. With a wave of fear, I realize I don’t know what this is, and I can’t help wondering if the lab has found me.

I push myself against the wall, trying to hide from whatever is coming as I hear the steps coming closer. I can’t take it anymore. I call, “Who goes there?” in the most intimidating voice I can muster. A small voice calls back to me, “It’s me, June.” I feel a sense of relief. June is a kindly old rabbit and is the one animal in these parts who doesn’t run away at the mere sight of me. All animals can talk to each other, of course, except the humans, who made their own languages instead of following those laid out by nature. June calls again: “I just wanted to make sure you’re still okay.” I respond with, “Of course I am; why wouldn’t I be?”. “Maybe the fact that you escaped from a bunch of scientists playing mix and match with your body a few months ago? “I thought we said we didn’t talk about the lab,” I respond. “Either way, I have some news for you.” I am confused; there is no news in these parts. `Everything is almost unchanging, so I ask, “What news?”. “A friend of mine found the lab.”

When I had escaped the lab; finally able to break out of my cage, I ran. I ran as far and as fast as I possibly could, just to get away from there, but this meant that I had no clue where the lab actually was. “It’s south of here, maybe 20 kilometres .” “Why is that important?” I ask, “I don’t want to go back there!”. “But the others are there, those like you.” June replied. She’s right, I can’t just give up on them, but I don’t want to leave my life that I’ve built here. “Do I have to help them? How could I even help?”. “We’ll go together; we have to help them! It’s only a matter of time before others find out, and they will be killed or experimented on!” I realize she’s right, and I have no choice. I need to help them; they are still scared like I was. Like I am. “You’re right,” I admit. “We’ll leave at dawn tomorrow.”

The next day, after packing up my few belongings, we set off to the south. I didn’t want to leave my life here, but I consoled myself with the fact that this wasn’t permanent and that there were people who needed my help. The next week or so was a blur, a mix of hard walking, long stretches with no food or shelter, and heat. We managed to cope though, hiding in garbage bins, burrows, and whatever else we could find. We also managed to find food and water, although sometimes it was difficult, and we had to get dangerously close to humans. It’s fine if someone sees June, but if I’m spotted, it will not end well. After another long day of walking, June looked into the distance and said, “We’re here. I see the lab.”

The lab wasn’t trying to hide; it reached up into the sky, was around 4 stories, had large windows, and was built in a very modern style. The main entrance was down on the right of the building, but there were always humans going through the large double doors. “We can’t go in that way; there are too many humans,” I remark. June responds by saying, “Of course not, that’s why we’re going through there.” She points with her snout towards a small vent on the left side of the building. “Will that get us to the others?” I ask. “Who knows? We don’t even know where they are,” she responds. “It’ll have to do.” We sneak closer to the vent, keeping low and out of sight. We only just managed to avoid being seen once. Eventually after a few nerve racking minutes, we managed to make it to the vent. I used my paws and teeth to break through, and just like that, we were in.

Sneaking through the vents was challenging, and we had to be careful about making too much noise. The vents were solid metal, so easily held our weight, but it was very uncomfortable to move. June had some trouble with the metal surface, as it made it hard for her to hop along. We went slowly, navigating gaps, inclines, and finding routes around dangerous areas like the fans. At every grate we saw we looked through the slates and observed the room inside, moving on when we ruled the room out as where they were holding the others.

After an hour or two of this endless searching, June calls me over and says, “Hey, I think I found it!”. “Really?” I ask. “Yeah, I think so. Come have a look.” I walk over to the vent where June is and look through. I see a dark room with metal cages all along the wall and the sound of animals. “I think you’re right, but how do we get down?” I query. “We’ll have to jump,” is her response. I don’t want to jump all the way down, but I see no other way, so reluctantly, I break the vent and then take a few breaths. With a large leap, I jump down, feeling the air push past my body, and then feel a large impact as I hit the ground. I wait for June to come down and then immediately start breaking the locks on the cages, which is easy from outside. I’m so scared to be back in this place that I forget to even look at the creatures trapped inside. I turn my head now to look, and what I see scares me.

They are all me; every single one of us identical. Same fox face, dog body and paws; tail and ears of who knows what. I thought they had created me as an experiment, but apparently I was the first of a new species. This revelation shakes me to my core. This means that I am not unique. I really don’t know what to think of this, and I just stand there gaping until one of them asks me, “Who are you?” My only response is, “I’m one of you; I’m here to rescue you.” “Really? I didn’t think we would ever get out of here,” was the response from another of the others. Another offers a question, “What are we?” I say, “That doesn’t matter now; we need to get out of here before someone sees us. Does anyone know a way out? We can’t get back up to the vent.” June pipes in, saying, “I think I hear someone,” and right on cue, five scientists dressed in lab coats and googles burst through the front doors of the room.

Initially I was scared, but then I remembered the odds. There were around thirty of us, and five of them. I led the charge towards them as the scientists slowly approached towards us. It was over in a blur, a flurry of claws and jaws scraping over our attackers, leaving them battered and bruised as we raced for the still-open doors. I led the charge, hitting at least two of the scientists, and then waiting for June until I went through the doors. We all ran together, finding our way out of the building and meeting no resistance, until we made our way out of the giant double doors and into the distance. Towards home. A week later, after long stretches of travelling and figuring out who we were with the others, I saw a familiar clearing in the distance and bolted towards my home.

A month later, I found myself in the middle of a town, but this wasn’t a normal human town. This was our town. Everyone has a house now that they built themselves with help from others; their own sense of pride to help them recover like I did. We made wise old June our mayor, leading us in construction and decisions, and as the sun set that day, I felt as happy as I ever have.

After this we had to transpose it into a video! We started by creating a storyboard.

and then we made the video!

The video!

(This took 4 days)

Tell me what you think in this padlet:

thanks for reading!

14. March 2024 by James
Categories: PLP project reflections | Leave a comment

Is this for Riel?

Louis Riel; was he a hero, did he belong in a mental asylum, or both. If you want to find out, just read this handy blog post!

We started our history project by learning about the timeline of events, with our topic question of “how has the portrayal of Louis Riel changed over time”, and then doing some sample writing in the form of a postcard. This was mine:


Afterwards, we began to learn about more of Riel’s life and accomplishments, including where he studied, where he lived, and what he did. I’m not a stalker, I promise. It’s just history. After taking notes on who he was, we had to take notes on how others viewed him.

We delved into the many portrayals of Louis Riel, including statues, primary sources, a heritage minute made by the Canadian government, and a video where Louis Riel is a duck. I’ve learned that its best not to question it.


Now that we knew who he was, and how he was portrayed, we had to learn how to communicate that to other people.

We began to learn about Frayer models, synonymes, antonyms, topic sentences, elaboration, paragraph structure and much more. We then developed our topic sentence for our multi-paragraph composition (short essay), and that was actually really hard.

First draft:

Louis Riel was a controversial figure in Canadian history who initiated change.

Second draft:

Louis Riel was a determined and ambitious leader for the Métis people, who was a controversial figure in Canadian history because of the of the change he initiated in the Canadian government.

Third draft:

Louis Riel was a determined and ambitious Métis leader who initiated change in the Canadian government, whose portrayal has changed as a result of a shifting collective worldview

After that, we had to actually write something! As a PLP student this was unexpected (kidding), I actually found it quite fun. After we had completed a first draft, it was time to remember why we are in PLP, and get a reminder on revision…. Yay. I got feedback from my mum, my peers, and my teachers. Here it was:

It was actually fun, and I learnt a lot about analyzing sources and formatting my conclusions, as well as revising things and overall writing, I hope you enjoyed reading about my project, thanks for doing that!

31. January 2024 by James
Categories: PLP project reflections | Leave a comment

Vive la révolution!

Did you ever think you would be spray painting cardboard glued together for a school project? I didn’t, but it happened anyways, here is that story.

It all started with a revolution. Literally. This exhibition we were putting on was not going to be easy, so we needed to learn a lot in both maker and humanities, and it started in humanities.

We began learning about revolutions and how ideas drive change (driving question):

We learnt about Crane Briton’s theory of a revolution and its four stages:

I honestly found this stuff really cool, how Crane had found a pattern in all of the chaos of a revolution, he even wrote a book about it!,French%2C%20and%20the%20Russian%20revolutions.

To show what we learned about the working of a revolution, we created a diagram to show all of the different stages of a revolution, here is the one I made:

I made it in the style of a recipe, and it is all hand drawn (except the text), and I am really happy with how it turned out. After that we had to chose a revolution to focus on, we were able to pick our top three, then the teachers would put us into a group; I ended up in the French Revolution, which I was happy about.

After we had done a lot of research on our revolution, we were tasked with creating an infographic to show to others to teach them about our revolution.e this went through multiple iteration as we refined, redesigned, and had our projects seen through peer’s eyes. I hope you learn something from this infographic, like I did from making it.

Version 1

  Version 2

It goes over the stages of the revolution, and also a brief timeline.

After this, we started a novel study on the book animal farm:

…which is an allegory for the Russian revolution, and we held many book chats talking about the book and I think we learnt a lot from it, I enjoyed most of the book as a book as well.

Then we learnt about metaphors; our final medium for showing our learning. We did some basic learning about what they meant and how to use them, and then we watched some videos and brainstormed about Rube Goldberg machines. I used to watch a lot of videos about similar contraptions, but before we started creating one for our winter exhibition, I had no idea how hard it was. 

In the first week of building, we were all assigned roles, I was the engineer, and it was my job to make sure that everybody machines worked with well… physics. You wouldn’t have believed how often they didn’t. I was mainly helping others with their section for that week.

The next week, I had to work on my part, as it was the first section of the machine, and needed to be complicated as soon as possible, so I got to work, but just like with our boxes from last year’s winter exhibition, I learnt that “building” isn’t as simple as that. You can envision something all you like, but you can’t plan for sitting in corners for hours at a time, with 49 other kids talking, just trying to get these two pieces of cardboard together, but one broke, and the other looks weird, so you cut some new ones, but they are too big, so you trim them, but then you are out of hot glue, and when you find more and finish the job it looks awful, so you borrow the spray paint, and go outside and paint it, it dries, and you add it to your machine… and it doesn’t work. That’s what it feels like.

Once some things were starting to work, we had to try and connect them, except we didn’t have access to the space where it was going to be which made things difficult, and then we found out that we also had to make a documentary. Yay?

Trying to sort everything out with the machine, and making a documentary made things a lot harder, especially as I was the editor of the video. My section of the machine was a metaphor for the meeting of the estates-general, where all of the three estates of France (clergy, nobility, and the commoners) had a meeting about how to get France out of debt.

Once my group members had sent me all of the clips and the storyboard (which I admit I didn’t follow very well) though our group chat, and we had watched some short documentaries in class and learnt about them, I started putting them all together, while trying to balance everything else too, which was difficult, but this is what I came up with:

It isn’t my finest work for sure, but I think it came out alright.

Then after we were done building everything, making everything, setting up, getting food, and decorating our area (which took a long time), we were (kinda) ready for the exhibition!

The exhibition didn’t go to well unfortunately, things fell and group members didn’t come back from breaks and morale and energy were low. But like all things I learnt from it. I have a petter idea of preparation, and I have some Ideas for going into the next exhibition at the end of the year. But I am still proud of what we did, and what we made.

But back to the driving question of how do ideas drive change? I thought about this for a while and eventually came to my conclusion of: ideas drive change because an idea can be many things, but overall I think it is an opinion on a situation, and those opinions and thoughts are what people sometimes want things to be, and then they take action to try and make those things real.

Thanks for reading.

08. January 2024 by James
Categories: PLP project reflections | Leave a comment

We will, we will, thrill you, bum-bum, thrill you, bum-bum. We will…

Hello everyone, and welcome again, to an exploration through filmmaking!

We kickstarted our learning by watching some mentor texts, then learning about what makes a good film including a lot of story structure stuff and the parts of a thriller. Then, we brainstormed on how to make a good thriller

After that, we had to create a plan and a storyboard, here is what part of our storyboard looked like:

After that we had to actually create the thing we had planned, and let me tell you, that was not easy. At all. But after a lot of filming, swordplay lessons, and some good bloopers, here was our final product:

I hope that you enjoyed learning how we made this, and that you tune in again!

14. December 2023 by James
Categories: PLP project reflections | Leave a comment

Reflection on the lake

Is it fun getting milk crates thrown at your face? I wouldn’t know, unless…

Hello all, it’s been since I’ve posted, but here we go!

So recently my grade 9 class took a trip to loon lake, which came as a surprise so soon after the Alberta field school, but we were told that it was a learning opportunity and they really wanted us to go, but we were all quite hesitant going into the week.

However we were pleasantly surprised when we actually had fun! Some of my favourite things that we did were the low ropes course, trust falls, and box stacking.

The low ropes course was pretty easy, but instead of being strapped in, the things catching you if you fell were your classmates, which really made me feel like part of a team, and beating the time to get all of our members across a rope swing was also really fun.

The trust falls started small with us just swaying and being pushed into position, to falling all the way over and being caught, to then falling of a chair. On a table. Yeah, you heard me right, it was crazy, and I was happy that I fell when I said I would unlike some others.

The box stacking was perhaps my favourite thing on the trip, because it was really fun mainly. We had a large supple of milk crates, and one person strapped who would be climbing them, and then all of us could help. Kaia was the one climbing, Nate was throwing boxes up, and I and a few others were holding the tower together, and dodging the missed crates as they came back down, we also beat the old record of 17, by getting 18 boxes stacked.

We also learnt a lot about how humans work, and emotional intelligence along with many other things, but our driving question was how do the choices we make set our future path? We learned a lot about time management and other things along those lines to help us with those choices to ultimately lead a better life. Overall, it was really fun. And tiring.

11. December 2023 by James
Categories: PLP project reflections | Leave a comment

I’m going into the office today.

Hi everyone, I recently went into my dad’s office for take your kid to work day, and I learned about how the company works, and what they do, if you want know that too, click here:

It was really interesting seeing how the company worked, and I talked to some of the engineers about how they got into engineering, and what they do at the company because I am interested in engineering.

We had to make a video about our experience there too, here was mine:

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about the company and engineering like I did.

The reason I didn’t focus on my dad is all the work he does can’t really be shared online.

Thanks for reading.

08. November 2023 by James
Categories: PLP project reflections | Leave a comment

Running a remake. Then again, and again, and again.

Why did I end up in a trench with my iPad trying to record a 14 year guy running in a forest? Well…

Hello everyone, I wasn’t expecting to be doing this again, but it was a short project about film! Again! And again! And again. And again…

But what did we do this time, what did we learn? We were learning about how to re-create a film, how to plan efficiently, and how to accept work of feedback.

Well, we had to run a remake, but what does this mean? We had to re-create an original text, this video:

And this was our first attempt at re-creating it:
Run! Remake

But how did we make this? We began by scouting our location (we were with a group) we decided where our shots would be then made a storyboard:

Then we filmed, edited, and did some sound design which took a while to create our final product. But the we watched everybody video in class and gave feedback, then we remade our remake. Our feedback was mainly about sound and some other small errors so that was improved. Here was the second iteration:

our second video

Hope you liked it. I learnt a lot from this project even though in was so short, but it was fun as well.

Thanks for reading!

02. November 2023 by James
Categories: PLP project reflections | Leave a comment

← Older posts

Skip to toolbar