Kickstarting 4 Sparks with Rubik’s Cubes

The day of the first session started out hectic. Last minute changes in session flow plan made Raanan and I nervous, but a well prepared slide show of was enough to comfort us. Before leaving, we bought a few 5-Stars for the students at Shishu Mandir because nothing beats getting a chocolate on the first day of new class. As we drove through the gates of the school, my heart skipped a beat and butterflies filled my stomach. The school was mesmerizing; beautiful paintings, lush green trees and the chattering of students around the campus. We then walked past the volleyball court, through another school building and into an open basketball court, where 25 excited fifth graders were patiently waiting for us.
We then set up a table on the court, and my father took charge. As the session proceeded, the whole group was divided into pairs, with the exception of one trio, based on what they aspired to become in the future. Once everyone settled down with their groups, it was time to start solving the Rubik’s cube. There was a lot of chatter amongst the crowd as we distributed the cubes, a feeling of excitement filled the air. But as we ran through the cubes, we figured that we didn’t have enough for everyone (as we had gotten a count of 20 children but today there were 5 more who showed up), so a few of them had to share.
Now the class was handed over to Raanan and I. We had planned to teach them how to solve the first cross. Along with all the kids, we agreed to start with the red centre. However we soon hit a roadblock. Everything went well while we explained the basic components of the cube to them, but as soon as we started they seemed a bit puzzled. So we decided to stick to the red-blue middle piece and teach them how to align it properly to form a firm basis for them to make the cross. We spent the next twenty minutes going around and helping those who were confused as to how they were to proceed, and checking the cubes of those who figured it out. It was an amazing feeling seeing each one of them smile as they figured out how to get the piece in the right place. Moreover, even though most of them had to share cubes, there were no fights or disagreements, but teammates were helping each other if one got stuck, which in my opinion was something truly beautiful.
Finally, it was time to wrap up the session. We collected all the cubes back. Since most of the kids wanted to see the cube solved, Raanan and I stood in front and solved it for them. They were all so amazed and clapped loudly when we were done. This managed to bring a smile on our faces. Then we took a group picture, said goodbyes – high-fives, waves all over the place.
The ride back to my house was a time for reflection. My dad discussed with us what went wrong, what we did right, how we were gonna make the next session even better, and most importantly, how we were going to promote Four Sparks. This is when the idea of an Instagram account, a session-wise blog and a fundraiser for the students came up. We decided to start working on these ASAP and form a strong base for all these ideas by the time it was time for session 2.
The first session was truly an amazing experience, where I learnt a lot myself, and felt like I was giving back to the world that has given me so much. All the preparations are on track and I can’t wait to get back to Shishu Mandir this Saturday for another exciting session!