Some of the quintessential Montessori works in the classroom are the puzzle cubes. They are found in the Sensorial area and vary in difficulty and concept. The final puzzle cube appeared on the shelf and the children are ready for the new challenge. This cube involves three levels of colored blocks that vary in height. The children must complete each layer before moving to the next one.
One of the first children to attempt the puzzle cube was a second year friend who had mastered the other three puzzle cubes and even had mentored friends on how to successfully build them. He began by dumping out the blocks on the work rug. A teacher watched as he looked up with a look of horror on his face. She approached him and asked what was wrong. “That’s not what Debbie did,” he whispered. The teacher smiled and said “No, it wasn’t, but we can organize the blocks and get it back together.” As the teacher helped him rebuild the puzzle cube, another friend came over and sat and watched. The first friend busily pushed a stack of blocks in front of the second friend. Between the two friends, the teacher and a good portion of work time, the puzzle cube was rebuilt. As soon as the first friend put the puzzle cube back on the shelf, another friend picked it up to bring to a work rug. The first friend cried “Don’t dump it out! It is a mess to get back in there!” Lesson learned.