Many parents and teachers face a difficult dilemma. Research shows that children are finding it tough to learn math concepts during the pandemic. All the evidence points to 2020 as a year when many children will be falling behind in learning basic math.
The good news: there is a way to supplement students’ math instruction—and make it fun so kids will enjoy learning! It’s called Brick Math: Teaching Math Using LEGO® Bricks.
Brick Math incorporates the LEGO® bricks that kids love and uses them to teach elementary school math concepts in a fun and exciting way. But it’s not a gimmick—Brick Math is a serious learning method, backed up by research and rigorous testing.
Brick Math works as a supplement to other math curriculum because the program is modular. There are 11 different subjects covered in the program that spans grades K – 6:
Here’s how Brick Math works: Choose the subject area that your students need. For example, if they are having trouble understanding the idea of fractions, the Basic Fractions Using LEGO® Bricks books zero in on that topic. The Teacher Edition has all the lessons that can be taught by a teacher or parent, and the Student Edition is the work-along book for the student, with additional problems, chapter assessments, and a chart to track the student’s progress. The 250-piece Brick Set has all the bricks for every math subject, and basic LEGO® bricks work if you have them already.
Kids really enjoy learning with Brick Math. “My class will often choose doing more Brick Math rather than recess,” was a comment from a fourth-grade teacher. A homeschooling parent told us, “My son was struggling with understanding quarts, pints, and gallons until we tried Brick Math. He loves LEGO bricks, and now he builds and remembers math problems!”
For more information about how Brick Math works, visit BrickMath.com. You’ll find videos for students and teachers or parents, plus samples from each of the 11 subjects to help you decide which books are right for your students.
What makes a math curriculum right for homeschooling? There are several factors to consider when you’re searching for the best way to help your child learn math.
1. Student Engagement
The best teaching methods work when students enjoy the learning process. Research has shown that “time on task” is a critical element in determining educational success. The longer a student will stay with a task while learning, the more the student will learn. Brick Math is #1 in student engagement. Kids love to use LEGO bricks to learn K – 6th grade math! The process of building math models with LEGO bricks keeps students engaged with the program, which results in learning.
2. Practical Application
Math is a conceptual subject, which can make it harder for some kids to learn. Experts agree that finding ways to make math concrete through representation of the math with manipulatives substantially increases a student’s understanding of the math. The entire Brick Math program has been created to make math real and tangible to students, by modeling the math with LEGO bricks. Students who learn with Brick Math often say, “Now I understand the math! I can see it!”
3. Modular Program
Math is a subject that builds on prior knowledge. For example: if you haven’t memorized the multiplication tables, you will have trouble understanding factors, and will then be mystified when trying to find the lowest common denominator. Brick Math is built in 11 modules, ranging from Counting and Cardinality in the early years, through Advanced Measurement and Geometry around grades 5 – 6. You can bring in any of the 11 Brick Math modules when your child is ready to learn that subject. Many parents use Brick Math to reinforce a math subject that their child has not learned fully from another math curriculum.
4. Easy to Teach
When you are homeschooling your child, you need to be comfortable with the material so you can teach it properly. And especially with math, the teaching methods used when you were younger are not the ones being used today. Brick Math makes the teaching process easy for parents to use. The Teacher Edition of each subject has step-by-step lessons that you follow to teach the topic. There are illustrations of all the brick models you will build, as well as illustrations of the correct models that the student will build, so you’ll know they are learning. Short videos on the Brick Math website show you exactly how Brick Math works, so you’ll feel very confident when you work with your child on the lessons. You’ll know your child is learning, because the Student Edition for each subject includes an assessment in every chapter and a chart to track your child’s progress.
Homeschooling materials can be very pricey, and when you need to buy a new curriculum every year, the cost of so many programs can be prohibitive. Brick Math is a very affordable curriculum: One Teacher Edition ($14.95) and one Student Edition ($9.95) per math subject (less than $25 for each subject). Use the LEGO bricks you already own, or get a Brick Math brick set for $60, which includes all 250 bricks needed for all 11 subjects, plus two 6” x 6” baseplates, packed in a sturdy divided storage box for easy access and clean-up. That’s a total of less than $80 to get started, then $25 to add on new subjects.
6. Based on Sound Academic Research and Practices
When selecting homeschooling curriculum, look for programs that are based on the most up-to-date academic research and ideas. Especially in math, you want to be sure your child’s curriculum is keeping up with the latest information. Brick Math was developed by Dr. Shirley Disseler of High Point University, an expert in math education and learning using LEGO bricks. She created the program based on the current findings into how students learn math. The Brick Math program has been tested with thousands of students, and has been shown to be highly effective at helping students learn math in the elementary school years. Parents across the US have been astonished to discover how well their children learn math with Brick Math after trying in vain to learn from other methods.
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.
If you 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.
It’s easy to adapt a program used in schools to create a homeschool curriculum that works well for your kids. Here are five tips for teaching a new curriculum when you're starting to homeschool.
1. Watch an expert to see how the program is taught. Now that you’re the teacher, it will really help to learn the important terms to include and see the lesson in action. Brick Math has lots of video lessons for you and your child to watch, all taught by the author of the program, Dr. Shirley Disseler (aka “Dr. D”).
2. Read through the whole lesson before you start teaching it. (This is the same advice that cookbook authors give about reading through the whole recipe before you start cooking!) It’s critical that YOU understand what you’re teaching before you start. With math, that’s key. Most of us learned math in a very different way than we would teach it today. Make sure the whole lesson “makes sense” to you before you begin working with your child. Each Brick Math lesson is step-by-step, so as you read it, you can feel comfortable with each step along the way.
3. Gather all the materials you need for the lesson before you start. You don’t want to lose momentum by having to stop and search for pencils, paper, or manipulatives. When you and your kids are ready to learn, you want to take full advantage of the time you have! At the beginning of each chapter in every Brick Math book there is a list of the LEGO bricks and baseplate needed to teach the lessons in that chapter, so make sure you have those, either from your personal stash of LEGO bricks, or from the Brick Math brick set. Your student will draw models and answer questions in the student books. All you need to add are pencils or markers, and you’re ready to go.
4. Take as much time as your child needs to complete a lesson. One of the best features of homeschooling is that kids work at their own pace, not at the pace of a whole class full of students. Check as you go along to be sure that your child really understands the material every step of the way. The Brick Math program includes regular check-ins with the student, and assessments for each chapter that give you confidence that your child has learned the math.
5. Make it fun! Many homeschooling parents are proud to talk about how much their children enjoy learning through the creativity of their programs. And what’s a more fun way to learn math than building with LEGO bricks? Students everywhere tell us how much fun they have learning math this way. Teachers have told us that sometimes their students ask to “keep doing Brick Math” rather than have recess!
Brick Math is a K-6 math curriculum that works for all students, whether they are in a classroom or learning at home one-on-one. If you have a student at home who is learning math, check brickmath.com. The website includes videos for both teacher/parent 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.
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 math intervention, for enrichment, and as a whole-school program. Materials are simple and need not be shared between students. It adapts easily to online instruction.
Contact us with any questions.