Every child loves LEGOs; it's like part of their genetic makeup. LEGOs are more useful than you might imagine, and many parents and teachers find that they can use LEGOs to further their child's math skills.
LEGOs get a terrible reputation from parents - have you ever stepped on one? It's like stepping on a small needle or several needles at one time. You're pretty sure that the LEGO penetrated your flesh, but they are also a hands-on math resource that you probably already have available to you.
We often forget that some of our best math resources are right in front of us, and it makes sense. Math is life; math is the world around us. Why not use things in our every day lives to help children see that math isn't just some problems on paper? Math is real life, all the time.
So, if you want to help your kids explore math concepts with one of their favorite toys, here are a few ideas to get you started!
1. Teaching Fractions
Teaching fractions seem quite abstract to a child - what in the world is 4/5 of a pie? Using LEGOs helps your child understand a difficult concept, especially abstract concepts. You can use legos to build fractions and show them how to add fractions as well.
2. Try LEGO's MoreToMath
Believe it or not, LEGO created their math program for grades 1 and 3, and it is a hands-on math curriculum with guided lessons, student worksheets and more. The lessons come with ideas to ensure all of the students' learning styles are met. LEGO also included ways for advanced learning with each teaching. Pretty cool, right?
3. Understanding Multiplication
Helping your child understand multiplication groups just got a bit easier! One LEGO represents a group. Then, the student counts the studs on each LEGO to figure out the equation.
So, for example, if you grab three LEGO bricks each with four studs (that's three groups of four), it is 3 x 4. Then, they can solve the problem - 3 x 4 = 12.
4. Teaching Mean, Median, and Range
If you have a baggie of LEGO bricks of different sizes, you can teach your students how to understand mean, median, mode, and range.
For example, the students can sort the bricks based on the number of studs on each one. Then, they can figure out the total number of studs for the group total. After that, they can figure out the mean, median, mode and range.
It makes total sense to use LEGOs to understand geometry since you use them to build shapes and projects already. Now, LEGO doesn't create a brick for each geometric shape and topic, so you will have to supplement a bit to make this work.
6. Basic Counting
Let's not forget the most straightforward way that you can use LEGOs for math - counting. It's an easy item for your child to count. Later, you can use LEGOs to build and create different patterns based on color or number of studs.
7. Ready-Made Array
Instead of drawing arrays or modeling how to skip count with arrays, use LEGOs! Your student can work to understand the building block of multiplication and how it works.
Keep a bunch of LEGO pieces when you're working on multiplication lessons. You can use them also help reinforce the idea of area model, square numbers, and the commutative property of multiplication.
If you want some more ideas on how to use LEGOs to teach math skills, take a look at the list by Encouraging Moms At Home. It's very helpful!