Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Legos and Math

Lego, Lego Blocks, Stones, Toys I just discovered you can use Legos to teach math in elementary school or for students who need extra reinforcement.

I've used Lego blocks for building robots, houses, etc but never for math. Tomorrow I'll review three apps which focus on using Lego blocks in education but today I'll look at some general applications.

Lego blocks can be used to show fractions as part, part, whole.  or total is 8 for one block as the whole.  The parts might be two blocks of 4 or one block of two combined with one block of six.  Very visual display.

In addition, Lego blocks can be used to teach students about equivalent fractions which is something students struggle with due to not knowing their multiplication facts.

Arrays which is another way of using these in terms of say square arrays or 2 by 2 or 4 by 4.  According to the author of this article arrays can be used to teach multiplication or division.  She includes a link to a 5 page exploration activity.  What is nice is she shows how to use the blocks so students can work on their multiplication facts.  With a small adjustment these arrays can be taken further to explore factors, area, and common denominators. 

In addition, Lego blocks can be used to explore mean, median, and mode by using stacks to represent numbers.  A visual representation for students who have trouble working with just numbers.

This site has lots of links for using Lego blocks in class. Although most of the links in this list are for elementary math, there are a couple which could easily be used in middle school or high school.  There are links for using them to find area, teach ratios, probability, Pythagorean theory and graphing.  Although the graphing is for first grade, it could be used for bar graphing.

This is a cool idea - to use Lego blocks to reinforce math.  I checked at the local Barnes and Noble book store for Legos but they only have the predetermined kits.  They do not carry the ones where you can just build things out of them.

There are also videos on youtube which show how to do this if you want to see how to do it.  Let me know what you think.  I've got a couple of apps I'll report back on tomorrow.