5 Ideas for Teaching Math with LEGOs

Comment

5 Ideas for Teaching Math with LEGOs

Very few hands-on math resources are as useful and versatile as the humble LEGO brick.

The familiar LEGO is an awesome tool for making abstract math concepts tangible for your kids, inspiring teamwork, encouraging perseverance, and promoting a positive attitude towards solving a variety of math problems.

You could argue that simply playing with LEGOs is a mathematical practice. Studies have shown that playing with LEGOs at a young age correlates with spatial development.

When you use LEGOs as a hands-on resource in your math lessons, your kids will feel engaged, comfortable, and motivated to take on challenging problems.

So, if you're looking to have your kids explore math concepts using LEGOs, here are 5 ideas for getting started:

1.) Teaching Fractions

(Picture: Alycia Zimmerman)

(Picture: Alycia Zimmerman)

Math concepts can be difficult for young children to grasp, and they often struggle to make sense of abstract topics like fractions.

Using LEGOs as a hands-on tool enables your kids to develop an understanding of fractions in an effective and engaging way.

With LEGOs, kids can learn fractions through exploration rather than simply memorizing facts and procedures.

2.) LEGO Education's MoreToMath 

Image via https://education.lego.com

Image via https://education.lego.com

Succeed in math through problem-solving with LEGO's MoreToMath program.

Currently for grades 1 and 2, LEGO's hands-on math curriculum provides you with guided lessons, student worksheets, interactive whiteboard lessons, and assessments. 

The lessons come with built-in ideas for differentiation ensuring that all students needs are met while enabling educators to deliver key content and offer opportunities for advanced learning. 

3.) Area Models and Arrays

LEGOs are an incredibly flexible educational tool and they are incredibly useful for exploring multiplication.

Your kids can use blocks to explore area models, multiplicative properties, square numbers, and factoring.

You can learn more about using LEGOs to teach multiplication concepts in this blog by Scholastic Education.

4.) LEGO Mindstorms: Robotics 

One of the best ways to get your kids interested in the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) fields is through engaging in robot-building projects.

LEGO Mindstorms NXT are self-contained robotics kits that allow students to create their own simple or advanced robots and drones.

And as automation continues to become a staple of modern society, kids who understand robotics will have tremendous career opportunities in the future.

5.) LEGO Geometry

Geometry and LEGOs go together like—well, you know where this is going.

While there may not be a single perfect example of how to use LEGOs to teach a particular geometry topic, you can surely use them to supplement almost any lesson.

Try letting your kids use LEGOs to explore concepts like area and perimeter, volume, composite figures, the Pythagorean Theorem, surface area, and modeling real-world scenarios.

Looking for more fun math resources to share with your kids? Click here to subscribe to our YouTube channel and access our free video library--and don't forget to subscribe!

Have more ideas for teaching math using Legos? Join the conversation and share yours in the comments section below.

Get more free math resources in your inbox each week--click here to get your weekly newsletter

By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 
 

Comment

Are you ready for some March Madness math problems?

Comment

Are you ready for some March Madness math problems?

G.jpg

Are you ready for the madness?

The NCAA national basketball tournament has begun and March Madness is sweeping the nation.

The tournament is most known for its enormous bracket that widdles down 64 competing colleges and universities to one single champion. 

And, like many people, you and your kids love filling out a bracket in an effort to predict as many winners as possible.

Barack Obama fills out a bracket every year.

Barack Obama fills out a bracket every year.

Even former president Barack Obama fills out a bracket every year.

With seemingly infinite amount of possible results to the tournament, celebrating March Madness and all of its mathematical components with your kids is a great way to boost engagement and teach math in a real-world context.

 

Some fun March Madness math problems for you to share with kids include:

What are the odds of a perfect March Madness bracket if games are chosen at random?

How can you improve your odds of choosing a perfect bracket?

Based on probability, what events are more likely to occur than picking a perfect bracket?

Is a perfect bracket even possible? (check out the video below)

 
 

Picking the correct winner of all 63 tournament games is certainly possible, but insanely, off-the-charts improbable.

In fact, the odds of picking a perfect bracket in the NCAA men's basketball tournament are, at worst, 1 in 9.2 Quintilian! 

And, at best, 1 in 128 billion, according to Jeff Bergen, a probability expert from DePaul University.

See Also: Teaching Math Through Major League Baseball

There's a better chance that...

With the odds of picking a perfect bracket so astronomically high, what events are more likely to occur? 

Becoming an Astronaut: 1 in 600

 
 

Being Injured by a Toilet: 1 in 10,000

 
 

Bowling a Perfect Gam: 1 in 11,500

 
 

Winning an Olympic Gold Medal: 1 in 662,000

 
 

Getting Struck by Lightening This Year: 1 in 960,000

 
 

Becoming President of the United States: 1 in 10,000,000

 
 

Being Killed by a Falling Coconut: 1 in 250,000,000

 
 

Looking for more fun math resources to share with your kids? Click here to subscribe to our YouTube channel and access our free video library--and don't forget to subscribe!

Have thoughts? Join the conversation and share yours in the comments section below.

Get more free math resources in your inbox each week--click here to get your weekly newsletter

By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 
 

Comment

St. Patrick's Day Math Activity for Kids

Comment

St. Patrick's Day Math Activity for Kids

St. Patrick's Day is almost here and you're excited to share some fun math activities with your kids.

If you want to take advantage of students' holiday enthusiasm and include some St. Patrick's Day math activities in your lesson plans, here's a special St. Patty's day math challenge just for you.

The video also includes a free St. Patrick's Day Math Puzzle PDF download so kids can work along with the video at their own pace: click here to download.

See also: Are You Ready for 17 Awesome New Math Challenges?

The challenge makes a great addition to any collection of St. Patrick's Day math activities for middle school or elementary school. 

Do you have any unique ideas for celebrating St. Patrick's Day with your kids? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Get more free math resources in your inbox each week--click here to get your weekly newsletter

By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 
 

Comment

Jo Boaler Suggests These Awesome Visual Math Activities

Comment

Jo Boaler Suggests These Awesome Visual Math Activities

Jo Boaler has started a math revolution that has likely already made its way into your classroom.

The Stanford Professor of Mathematics and author of Mathematical Mindsets is the co-founder of YouCubed.org, an organization dedicated to inspiring, educating, and empowering math teachers with the latest research on making math education both practical and accessible.

The site shares an extensive collection of brain science findings that help you to better understand how your students learn.

See Also: If you're not familiar with her work, her Ted Talk How you can be good at math, and other surprising facts about learning is a must watch:

 
 

In the YouCubed study Visual Math Improves Math Performance, Boaler shares: 

In a ground breaking new study Joonkoo Park & Elizabeth Brannon (2013), found that the most powerful learning occurs when we use different areas of the brain. When students work with symbols, such as numbers, they are using a different area of the brain than when they work with visual and spatial information, such as an array of dots. The researchers found that mathematics learning and performance was optimized when the two areas of the brain were communicating.

Boaler goes on to say that "Mathematics is a subject that allows for precise thinking, but when that precise thinking is combined with creativity, openness, visualization, and flexibility, the mathematics comes alive."

When your students aren't thinking about math in a visual context, they are missing out on developing a deep understanding of the material.

So, how can you give your kids opportunities to think about math visually? Here are 5 resources suggested by Jo Boaler to get you started:

1.) Multiple Representations

Many students adopt a false idea that there is only one acceptable way to solve a math problem when, in fact, there's always several different ways to find a correct solution. By showing students multiple ways to represent concepts and solve problems, you make mathematics more accessible and equitable.

For more examples of multiple representations, you can download the free YouCubed Visual Mathematics Activities paper.

2.) How Close to 100?

This activity lets students explore the different ways that they can represent the value 100. This practice helps students build number sense, which is the foundation of understanding mathematics.

3.) Squares and Cubes

Kids love using hands-on manipulatives to explore math concepts. Thinking about mathematical models in terms of squares and cubes is a great way for students to develop a strong conceptual understanding of a variety of math topics.

You can learn more about using squares and cubes as visuals for deep understanding here

4.) Focus on Fingers

"Many teachers have been led to believe that finger use is useless and something to be abandoned as quickly as possible. ," says Jo Boaler in her article Why Kids Should Use Their Fingers in Math Class in The Atlantic.

Recent brain science suggests that preventing students from using their fingers when they count could actually hurt their mathematical development. 

You can support visual math learning by encouraging finger counting among students and enable them to strengthen their brain capacity in the process.

5.) Learn Even More

Looking to go further down the rabbit hole? You can learn more about the importance of visual mathematics for our brain with the comprehensive essay Seeing as Understanding by Jo Boaler. The essay shares insights, brain science research, and more activities for you to share with your kids.

Do you have any unique experiences or ideas for teaching visual mathematics to your kids? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Get more free math resources in your inbox each week--click here to get your weekly newsletter

By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 
 

Comment

Celebrate Pi Day 2017 with this Fun Facts Infographic

1 Comment

Celebrate Pi Day 2017 with this Fun Facts Infographic

March 14th is almost here and it’s time to celebrate your favorite mathematical holiday, Pi Day! 

And if you're looking for some awesome Pi Day 2017 activities to share with your kids, check out our infographic that shares interesting National Pi Day fun facts that will blow your mind!

Your kids will learn answers to questions like:

1.)   What is the earliest recorded reference to Pi?

2.)   Who was the first person to use the Pi symbol?

3.)   Where, when, and why was Pi Day first celebrated?

4.)   What famous people are born on Pi Day?

National Pi Day Fun Facts InfoGraphic

 
 

Trying to print? Right-click on the image to save it to your computer (or drag and drop onto your desktop).

You can also watch the video version of our Pi Day Infographic on YouTube. Check it out below:

Pi Day Video

Do you have any unique ideas for celebrating Pi Day with your kids? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Get more free math resources in your inbox each week--click here to get your weekly newsletter

By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

1 Comment