Wes & Preeti
SECOND LAYER

Now that you have the top layer solved it is time to complete the second layer. Your goal when finished with this step is to have the cube looking like this:

I don't really consider solving the first layer as requiring you to learn any algorithms. It is basically just being familiar with how the pieces move and how to get a specific piece into a specific position. To solve the second layer there are 2 algorithms you must learn, but I would consider the second layer easier to solve than the top layer. You don't really have to do anything other than move a piece into place and run the algorithm. The 2 algorithms are very similar, one is just a mirror image of the other.

There are only 3 scenarios at this point.
(1) The piece you need to place in the second layer is on the bottom layer and needs to be placed to the right of the center piece.
(2) The piece you need to place in the second layer is on the bottom layer and needs to be placed to the left of the center piece.
(3) The piece you need to move is already in the second layer but in the wrong position.

We'll walk through the first 2 scenarios below. The key to getting started is to line up an edge piece on the bottom layer with the center piece of the same color. Look at the example below. We want to move the red/blue edge piece into the second layer. Let's start by moving the piece so that the red side is lined up under the red center piece. We do this by performing D'.

 D'

This piece needs to be placed to the right of the red center piece. Below is a walkthrough of how to move this piece into place.
The algorithm is D'_R'_D_R_D_F_D'_F'
 D' R' D R D F D' F'

We start off by moving it to the Left side with D'. Then we bring down the piece where we want to go into the bottom layer by bringing the Right side down by moving R'. Now we move the red/blue piece back under the red center with D. This shifts our target position under the blue center and places the yellow/red/blue corner piece in the bottom right corner of the Right face. Next we rotate the Right face back up with R. As you can see the yellow/red/blue corner piece is now directly under where it belongs. The remaining 4 steps will accomplish 2 things, putting the corner back into place and bringing along the red/blue edge piece with it. First let's move the corner out of the way so we can move the Front face. We do this by moving D. Now we move the Front face F to bring the target corner position down to the bottom layer. We move the yellow/red/blue corner piece back into place with D', then move it back to the top layer with F'.

As stated above, there are only 3 scenarios. After rotating the piece under the center of the same color, you either need to move the piece up to the right of the center piece, up to the left of the center piece, or its already in the second layer but in the wrong position. The algorithm for the first scenario was given above. It is restated below along with the algorithm for the second scenario. In case of the third scenario, simply perform one of these algorithms to replace the improperly placed piece with one from the bottom layer. This will move that piece down from the second layer into the bottom layer and you can then apply the appropriate algorithm.
 D'_R'_D_R_D_F_D'_F' D_L_D'_L'_D'_F'_D_F either algorithm

Here are the algorithms as shown in the java applet.

 D'_R'_D_R_D_F_D'_F' D_L_D'_L'_D'_F'_D_F

Continue using this methodology to place the remaining edge pieces into the second layer. Once finished you are ready to move on to Solving the Bottom Corners.