Legos: A Fun Tool for Math

UPDATED WITH NEW INFORMATION 6/12

Do you have a child who is interested in building with Legos? Did you ever consider using them for various subjects such as math, science, language arts, social studies, and art? Here are a few benefits of playing with Legos.

MATH

  • Developing spatial intelligence
  • Visualizing mathematical concepts
  • Teaching /reinforcing mathematical operations such as counting, sorting, adding, multiplying, subtracting, and dividing.
  • Constructing geometric shapes. (square, rectangle, triangle)
  • Estimating
  • Following directions
  • Reading a diagram
  • Teaching area
  • Designing
  • Graphing- Graph the results of the science or the sorting activities

Now that I got you thinking about Legos, why not incorporate them into your school day or use as an after school activity? ūüôā Here are ideas to help you.

SCIENCE

  • Buoyancy- How long can your model float? Hold a regatta, invite other home school friends to join you, and give a little Lego set as a prize.
  • Velocity- How fast does your model travel? (airplane, space craft, race car)
  • Simple machines- inclined plane, wedge, screw. Inclined planes- How long does the plane need to be in order to construct your creation? Try different lengths and angles. Check out this website. It has a variety of models of simple machines.
  • Ecosystems- Build a habitat for your models to live in such as a jungle, a garden,
  • Volume- How much liquid can your model hold?
LANGUAGE ARTS
  • Writing/giving a description of the creation
  • Writing/narrating a story including the model
  • Writing/ telling step-by-step directions on how to construct the model
  • Write to Legoland and ask for a map of the park and any other materials. (One of my students was going there and had a map of the park before he went since he had written and requested one. How fun was that for him?)
SOCIAL STUDIES
  • Build a model of a settlement or town of the time period you are studying.
  • Construct a catapult while you are investigating the Middle Ages
ART
  • Draw a picture of the model
  • Color the picture of the model
  • Draw designs of future projects
  • Design new Lego characters
  • Create jewelry using Lego blocks

I am tutoring a 6th grade student who loves Legos. I find it interesting that he can easily make these complex models. He is amazing at not only building the models that were purchased, but being able to create his own. His mother has told him that he has to wait until I come to the house before he can program his robotic Lego since this is part of his school time with me. I love it because he always looks forward to me coming. The funny thing is that I was under the impression that he and I  were going to build this complex model together. We sat on the carpeted floor and he began to open up all these packages of small pieces of Legos. All I could think of was that we were going to lose the pieces. All he could think of was the robot.

At first I sat there worrying about how he and I were going to find the correct piece, read the directions, and try to assemble this pile of several hundred pieces (more likely thousands of pieces) into something like the picture that was featured on the kit. My worry changed to astonishment¬†and then admiration¬†as I watched him construct this robot from the directions that were provided. He didn’t need my help at all, and in fact, I was pretty much in the way. He showed me which piece was needed and how the pieces fit together. I wasn’t the tutor that day, but rather the student. This was a wonderful way for him to not only build, but also explain and demonstrate what was occurring. Don’t you love how this activity is not only for math, but language arts as well? My student was kind to me though, and let me feel useful by giving me the task of assembling some wheels and holding some of the tiny parts that I was concerned about losing.

NEW INFORMATION

Bricks4Kidz is a homeschool owned and operated company providing¬†learning programs that teach elementary school aged kids principles of science, technology, engineering, math and more using LEGO¬ģ components. ¬†Their programs provide an extraordinary atmosphere for students to build unique creations, play games, and have loads of fun using LEGO¬ģ bricks.¬†Check it out!

Websites

Do you have a student who has been playing with Legos and is wanting a challenge? Why not have them enter a Lego contest? The whole family can be involved in this project since it involves creating a 2.5 minute video.  Have fun and post a picture of your creations that you enter for the contest.

Here is a website that has activities for younger students to work with Legos, but you can adapt these to students of various ages. littlebrickschoolhouse

Have you seen legoquest yet? This is a blog that is sure to inspire your creative builders. A challenge is given, models are built, and pictures can be sent to the blog for all to see. There are tabs on the side for further exploration as well.

Check out First Lego League The intent of creating Lego teams is to foster an excitement for science and technology. There are teams that compete from all over the world. You can go to this website to lean more about it.

Have you thought Legos are just for young students? Look at this website. Your senior high student will benefit from this if (s)he is interested in engineering and/or math.

Has anyone used Legos for school and would like to post an idea? I’d love to hear about it. Does your Lego engineer ¬†or artist need an audience to view their masterpiece? Post a picture and I’ll be sure to comment. Now, what to do with all those pieces that are on the floor…

5 thoughts on “Legos: A Fun Tool for Math

  1. I shared your blog with a friend who has two boys that are obsessed with legos- she is excited to check out the lego websites, thanks! My younger two girls are in a science co-op where the teacher is going to be exploring the k’nex energy, forces and motion curriculum… don’t know anything about it (it starts this week) but I’m sure they will love it- sounds very hands-on- and I love to see the girls and what they build with their creativity, they seem to work much slower but are very imaginative and the boys work so quickly and just amaze me.

    Like

  2. Lisa,
    Thanks so much for mentioning Bricks 4 Kidz! In the fall I’ll have some “homeschoolers only” events and classes. I’ll make sure to keep you in the loop so you can share with your readers.

    Lizz Mele
    Bricks 4 Kidz

    Like

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