The word Lego was derived from the Danish phrase "leg godt" which means "play well." Now the popular interlocking bricks have made it easier to learn well. Teachers have gotten creative and started using Legos for math education.
Starting out, pre-school aged children can use Duplo blocks which are the cousins to Legos. They are larger and easier to handle with small fingers. (The word Duplo actually comes from the Latin word duplus which means double.) Duplo blocks have plenty of room to write numbers on with a permanent marker. Kids can then put them in numerical order, count by 5s and 10s, and learn to measure things with them.
In kindergarten, kids can begin using Legos to learn addition and subtraction. Next comes part-to-whole relationships. This concept can be put into word problems. For example: "Johnny has 30 Legos. 10 were red and the rest were blue. How many were blue?"
With older students, Legos can be used for lots of math concepts, including:
- mean, median, mode and range
- building square and cubed numbers
- place value
- spatial awareness
- greater than and less than
It's amazing that little plastic blocks can be used to teach so many math concepts. This site has links to a plethora of other resources including free printable worksheets.
Teachers will be amazed and impressed when they return from days off and find what you have taught their students. For more ideas you can use while substitute teaching, check out our blog.