During the pandemic, the math skills of many elementary school students have dropped significantly. In the coming school year, educators are faced with the challenge of helping students both regain skills and learn new material.
The latest thinking on how to help students who have lost math skills during the COVID year is to accelerate instruction rather than hold back. Guidance from the US Department of Education is to move ahead with grade-level math instruction, but include new strategies for learning where students show deficits.
Brick Math is the perfect solution for teachers and schools looking for a way to help students whose math skills have faltered in the past year. The K – 6th grade program uses LEGO bricks to model math, an innovative approach that helps students quickly learn mathematic basics that range from Counting through Advanced Geometry. Since the program is modular, it can be brought in to address specific learning deficits a student may have. For example, if a teacher finds that a student missed out on learning decimals last year, the Brick Math program of instruction for Decimals will help that student move back up to grade level work quickly.
Here’s how Brick Math can help a student who has lost math skills over the past year:
1. Determine what area of math the student is having trouble with (for example, understanding decimals).
2. Bring in the Brick Math subject area as needed (in the example, use the methods in the Decimals Teacher and Student books). The program focuses on helping the student quickly understand and master the topic.
3. Now the student is ready to rejoin the whole class in grade-level math.
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 well 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 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 student math test scores and hear what people who are using Brick Math have to say about the program.
We hear from teachers all the time who tell us that Brick Math is very effective for their students who weren’t learning math through the established school curriculum. Often the reason is because the Brick Math methodology appeals to all kinds of learners.
Obviously, kinesthetic learners take to Brick Math because they can manipulate the bricks, and actually touch the math content. Auditory learners learn from Brick Math through the process of explaining in words why their models show the math. Visual learners enjoy the highly visual nature of brick models, both through seeing completed models and through building and drawing their own models. And reading/writing learners respond particularly well to the component of the program that asks students to explain their thinking in writing.
When Brick Math was being developed, author Dr. Shirley Disseler recognized the creative nature of the program. Often there is not just one right way to model a problem, but a variety. She continues to be surprised by new ways that students find to use the bricks to explain the underlying math concepts.
The flexibility of Brick Math for all types of learners helps many students find success with math!