In the Brick Math program, students use LEGO bricks to learn elementary and middle school math. The bricks are also known as manipulatives—items that the students actually touch and move to model the math.
How do manipulatives work in teaching math? There are three major ways that manipulatives help students learn:
1. Manipulatives make math concrete.
When you read math problems in a textbook, you are asked to envision abstract concepts—subtracting 5 from 7, or multiplying 10 by 3, for example. But using manipulatives to model a concept makes the math concrete and real. In our examples, use 7 bricks to model the number 7, then remove 5 of those bricks to see clearly that 2 are left. Or make 3 groups of 10 bricks each to model multiplication, to clearly show the solution as 30. Students “get” the math when they can see it!
2. Manipulatives are tools to solve math problems.
Engineers and scientists approach new problems by building models and testing their solutions. Manipulatives work the same way for math problems. When given a math problem, students use bricks to work through the problem. Different solutions can be tested and compared.
3. Manipulatives make math fun.
Doesn’t the idea of doing math with LEGO bricks seem like a lot more fun than memorizing multiplication facts or doing long division with pencil and paper? Students and teachers across the globe agree! Teacher Sally Gray told us: "Instead of indoor recess with puzzles and games, my class begged to continue working on multiplication with Brick Math!"
Using the beloved LEGO bricks as math manipulatives in a complete curriculum of K-6th grade math helps students build deep and lasting math ability.
Brick Math is a K-6 math curriculum that uses LEGO® bricks to model 11 different math subjects: Counting, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Basic Fractions, Basic Measurement, Fraction Multiplication, Fraction Division, Advanced Measurement and Geometry, and Decimals. It works for homeschooling, math intervention, enrichment, and as a whole-school program. Materials are simple and affordable.
If you teach math or have a student at home who is learning K - 6th grade math, check brickmath.com. The website includes videos for both teacher training and direct instruction of students. You can learn more about how Brick Math improves students' math test scores and hear what people who are using Brick Math have to say about the program.