Teaching Maths with LEGO®, from http://www.schoslatic.com
A little while ago we came across this gem – a simple and practical yet brilliant post by Alycia Zimmerman on the Scholastic site, sharing ideas of how to use LEGO® to build maths concepts in kids.
As Alycia says in the post, along with the obvious creative implications, while children play with LEGO® blocks, they are also building their spatial and proportional awareness. There are many ways to use LEGO® in the classroom – here she talks about their utility in maths classes. The post has practical tips and downloadable tools to help in lessons.
Here are some of the opportunities she points out in the post:
LEGO® for Building Part-Part-Total Thinking: Students can group combinations of two or more LEGO® bricks and find the total number of studs, or students can start with a larger brick, cover part of it with a smaller brick, and figure out the amount of remaining uncovered studs.
LEGO® = Colourful Ready-Made Arrays: Having a collection of LEGO® pieces on hand during multiplication lessons is so useful. Use them to reinforce the area model, to demonstrate square numbers, and to remind students about the commutative property of multiplication.
Tackling Fractions with LEGO®: The only way to combat fraction-mayhem is to provide students with a LOT of opportunities to experience fractions with tangible objects.
Exploring Mean, Median, Mode, and Range with LEGO®: While evening out LEGO® towers of varying heights, students have a first-hand experience of what “mean” means.
Alycia is a third grade gifted and talented teacher in NYC – according to her Twitter profile, she “loves hands on science, outside the box math, and everything children’s lit”. Check out her website and Twitter feed for more practical ideas to get kids engaged with science and maths. Please check out her post, and share!
OK, we have to admit – we love LEGO®. Aside from the odd bared foot collision with a piece of LEGO® embedded deep in carpet, there really is very little not to like! But, that said, occasionally we’re at our wits end when our kids come to us and want to build something, freestyle, with LEGO®. What can we build?
Well we’ve found a site with plenty of material to inspire us. Pinterest is well known as a place for interior design and fashion – and of course the Pinterest LEGO® page is a wealth of great ideas for new projects to start with kids.
Check it out – we really like the Kermit the Frog 🙂
We’ve posted before about the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) education for our kids. Increasingly, jobs everywhere depend on an ability to create, embrace and deploy technology in new and innovative ways . One of the reasons we jumped at the chance to get involved with BRICKS 4 KIDZ® is that we share their passion for STEM Education – it is now our mission to be a leading provider of STEM Education to kids in NSW and the ACT.
So we’re constantly on the lookout for new resources that parents can employ to get kids interested in science. Just today we came across a great resource on YouTube, called YouTube EDU, and we wanted to share it here.
YouTube EDU features some of the most popular educational videos on the site. The videos are categorised by subject, from engineering to law, and by age group, from primary and secondary education to lifelong learning. It’s a one-stop shop for anyone looking for homework help, project research, or simply hoping to learn something new on a rainy day! Some of videos they are featuring today on their front page for primary and secondary students include World’s Roundest Object!, Why Do Venomous Animals Live In Warm Climates? (heavily featuring Australia of course!) and Safe Cracking with Richard Feynman.
But our favourite was this one, which we just watched with our six year old. She may not have fully understood it, but she definitely enjoyed it – and so did we!
Check out YouTube EDU. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
We came across this article today and thought it must be shared! Like much of the world, New Zealand is in the grip of LEGO® insanity, with the release of The Lego Movie and the launch of their National Lego Building Competition. To mark the mania, the New Zealand Herald published a list of 10 LEGO® fun facts and figures. Here are a few of our faves, from the article:
⚛ There is almost no limit to what the bricks can create with a vivid imagination. Six eight-stud bricks can be arranged in 915,103,765 ways. Just two eight-stud LEGO® bricks can be combined in 24 different ways and three eight-stud LEGO® bricks in 1,060 ways.
⚛ The first mini figure prototype is 38 years old. Standing exactly LEGO® Lego bricks high without a hat or hair (side note: we love that LEGO® commitment to exactness and quality!), designers selected the colour yellow for the figures to represent all races and ethnicities. They originally had no facial features, gender, arms or moveable legs. It took three years and 51 prototypes before they took the form we know today. There are now over 4 billion figures.
⚛ LEGO® popularity could circle the earth – many times. On average, every person on earth owns 86 LEGO® pieces. Over 400 billion bricks have been produced and if they were all connected together they could connect the earth to the moon ten times over. There are enough bricks sold each year to stretch around the world more than 18 times.
The parent company of BRICKS 4 KIDZ® is Creative Learning Corporation, a publicly-listed US company. The company recently posted an article detailing the extent of the crisis facing STEM education, and how BRICKS 4 KIDZ® may be part of an effective response.
As the article notes, “The U.S. has 13 federal agencies that have committed over $3.4 billion to more than 250 different programs supporting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (“STEM”) programs, according to the Association of Science and Technology Centers (“ASTC”). Despite these investments, the World Economic Forum ranks the U.S. 52nd in the quality of mathematics and science education.”
Australia faces similar challenges.The number of maths major enrolments in Australian universities fell by about 15 per cent in the past decade, while at the same time the demand for mathematicians increased by 52 per cent. The proportion of year 12 students taking physics, chemistry and biology fell by about a third in the past 10 years, and in international education performance assessments Australia is dropping down ranks. The issue has received plenty of media attention.
BRICKS 4 KIDZ® offers programs designed to teach the principles of engineering, math and science to children ages 3-12+ using LEGO® Bricks. Classes are provided in school/after school, at special event programs, and at vacation programs designed to enhance and enrich the traditional school curriculum by triggering imagination and building confidence. The experience of using LEGO® to build models embeds the STEM concepts in kids in ways that we can’t reach with traditional classroom-based learning. As the article notes, “In a 2009 Purdue University study, researchers found that students that used hands-on learning were able to use drawings, words, or phrases to explain STEM concepts better than those learning the same material via lecture, particularly among non-native English speaking children.” BRICKS 4 KIDZ® is proof of that.
If you are new to BRICKS 4 KIDZ® and unfamiliar with its programs, this short video is a great introduction.
We recently posted news of our July school holiday programs – please get in touch to learn more!
In the US, LEGO® is working with National Instruments to change the way that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) concepts are taught in classrooms.
Ann Rivet, an associate professor of science education at Teachers College at Columbia University, is quoted in the article:
“Just knowing a lot of science information doesn’t provide that kind of thinking about how to use that information in new situations,” she says. “However, when you engage the students in the actual act of problem solving and hands-on activities where they’re connecting what they’re learning and how they’re doing it with what they want to know, the resulting understanding is much more robust.”
Absolutely. BRICKS 4 KIDZ® programs are designed with the same philosophy. They combine the STEM concepts with hands-on model building sessions to engage the students and embed the learning. If you’d like to know more about how this can be done in your school, feel free to get in touch.
A BRICKS 4 KIDZ® vacation care is a fresh and fun way for kids to spend their school holidays! With specially-designed BRICKS 4 KIDZ® models, LEGO® games galore, and plenty of time for free-play, the kids are always having fun. Vacation care is specially designed for kids ages 5 – 12 and are staffed by trained, screened BRICKS 4 KIDZ® instructors.
In June / July 2014, we’ll be running four programs in Sydney’s Lower North Shore:
Limited spots are available. Confirm your place now!
As part of our mission to be the leading external provider of STEM education in our part of the world to students and the school system, we are seeking now to bring on teachers to lead the delivery of our local programs. It is a great role for undergraduates studying education or early learning programs who are seeking experience, or for experienced teachers who are keen for a casual or part-time position.
If you are interested to know more about our plans and progress, or know great people who may be keen to join our team, have a look at our Careers page or get in touch. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!
BRICKS 4 KIDZ® continues to gain recognition for its STEM-focused After School Enrichment and Vacation Programs, with a growing number of families and communities around the world taking part. Last month, BRICKS 4 KIDZ® received the #2 Top New Franchise ranking by Entrepreneur Magazine. This accomplishment adds weight to the astounding growth that BRICKS 4 KIDZ® continues to experience, globally, and is the second accolade in as many months. Read the full article here. Congrats to all involved!