Mathematical Practices:

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Painting Youcubed

Students build and draw three-dimensional cubes made up of small unit cubes. Student study patterns by analyzing the number of sides painted of each unit cube, which made up the larger painted cube.


  • Grid or isometric dot pater
  • Centimeter cubes or similar (sugar cubes are great for this activity!)
  • Colored pens or markers

Task Instructions

Imagine that we paint a 4 x 4 x 4 cube blue on every side. How many of the small cubes have 3 blue faces?
How many have 2 blue faces?
How many have 1 blue face?
How many have not been painted at all? How many faces would be painted in a cube of any size? Think visually!