The Binomial Cube

Transient

Binomial Cube: The binomial cube is a staple of Montessori classrooms. But, what exactly is it? It looks like a fun puzzle, and it is, but what's the logic behind the blue, black and red wooden pieces? Let's find out.

Materials: Eight wooden blocks and rectangular prisms form a cube, the formula of which is: (a + b)3.

Aim: To build the cube; discriminating size, shape and color.

Results: Preparation for algebra, proof of the formula (a + b)3, and instruction for cubed roots.

Observations: Watch as the binomial cube is built: with the dexterous hands of a future architect; or, the mind of an engineer, calculating his next move; or, perhaps, the gentle descriptions of a poet just starting to engage the world. In many ways, the process of constructing a binomial cube is like a bird, building a nest.