Children absolutely love playing with those versatile little bricks we call LEGO. Not only do they offer hours of endless fun, they bring a whole host of learning opportunities across the curriculum too.
In this piece, we’ll focus in on the applications of LEGO in maths. We’ve collated 15 activities to use as part of your maths lessons, covering everything from basic maths skills to
Teach maths with LEGO: 15 ideas
1. Practice sorting, organising and arranging
LEGO blocks come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, making them perfect for just throwing onto a table and letting children sort through them. They could arrange them by the number of blocks, the length, the height or the colour.
You can even incorporate them into water play, tipping them into a container of water and having children arrange piles of bricks in the bottom of a bowl!
2. Develop counting skills
Learning number sequencing and counting is really simple and effective with LEGO or Duplo bricks.
You could use different pieces to represent each number – 1×1, 1×2, 1×3 etc. or if you need to use bigger Duplo blocks in the nursery, why not write numerals on one side and the equivalent number of dots on the opposite side to help children count visually!
3. Add, subtract and multiply
When it comes to learning and practicing addition, subtraction and multiplication, LEGO blocks make an excellent visual tool to help children see and understand the problems in front of them.
They can also be used as a great resource for number bonding activities too. How many different LEGO bricks can be used to make the number 10 for example?
4. Visualise fractions
Understanding how fractions work can often be quite challenging for children, but as with other math problems, LEGO blocks make visualisation simple and easy!
Just build a tower and use different colour bricks to represent different parts of the fraction, and then have children experiment doing the same.
5. Make shapes
If you’re learning about shapes in the classroom, why not use LEGO blocks to draw out the different shapes on the floor or desk? You could use them to illustrate the difference between squares and rectangles, and perhaps even create some 3D shapes too!
We bet there are lots more ideas you can come up with too! How do you use LEGO with your little learners? Share any great activities you’ve tried below.
6. STEAM learning with Spike Prime
For a more curriculum-focused LEGO product, take a look at their STEAM tailored series, LEGO Spike Prime. It’s for more advanced learners in Primary or lower Secondary school, but it incorporates subjects like science, maths, coding and engineering to deliver a rounded STEAM experience.
The LEGO Education hub has a whole host of suggestions and lesson plans, with some aimed at Computer Science and others more at the mathematical applications like data collection and interpretation (you’ll find some of the best examples in point 14 below).
7. Build a number line
For KS1 kids, number lines are an incredibly useful tool for learning to count and incorporating negative numbers. You can make this activity more engaging from the off by building the number line using simple LEGO bricks.
For added fun use a LEGO character, perhaps one from on the class’ favourite film, to hop up and down the number line as you give them maths problems to solve.
8. Place value practice
Place value is another one of the most imperative maths skills to learn in younger year groups. And again, LEGO can be right at the heart of the type of learning. Task pupils with making 10 out of LEGO bricks, connecting them together to make towers that add up to larger and larger numbers.
9. Visualise multiplication
Multiplication can also be easily applied to those multicoloured bricks. Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls have a great example of this, but it essentially looks to replicate the classic times table chart using LEGO.
It’s a great way to come at multiplication from a different, more tactile, angle if pupils aren’t picking up the concept.
10. Design a room with LEGO geometry
As an extension of making and understanding shapes, you could enrol the class in a much more ambitious geometry-based challenge. Tie in some engineering and project planning to create a model room made entirely from LEGO.
11. LEGO balance with weights
Another one for younger classes who might be struggling to pick up a new concept. Build some scales using LEGO and use them to talk about the subject of weight. Find objects from around the classroom and see how many LEGO bricks they are equal in weight to.
12. Tell the time with a LEGO clock
One of the cooler ideas we’ve spotted in classrooms using LEGO. First, it’s a nifty engineering project which takes careful crafting. Once it’s done, it’s a much cooler way to interact with time than staring at the clock or looking at static print outs with the time on them.
13. Explore Roman Numerals
Have you slotted next term in for some topic-based learning on Ancient Rome? Their numerical symbols, Numerals, work perfectly with LEGO due to their straight-angled nature.
Task the class with recreating big Roman Number numbers using LEGO.
14. Collect and interpret data
Another one from the incredibly engaging and versatile LEGO Spike Prime kit here. There’s lots of possibility for data collection and/or interpretation with Spike Prime. LEGO have lots of lesson plans and other ideas themselves, including measuring Kinect energy and tracing line graphs in real time.
One of our favourites is measuring wind power. It starts by building a wind indicator and evolves to collecting and interpreting data collected via the cloud – a perfect display of the power of LEGO’s Spike Prime kit.
15. Learn about symmetry
As another extension of the shapes suggestions we’ve made, apply your LEGO bricks to some symmetry-based learning.
An incredible example we’ve seen of this can be found at Fun at Home with Kids. Moving beyond just simple shapes, their LEGO symmetry task is built around butterflies and mirroring complex colours and patterns in both of their wings.