Area is the subject of the July 2020 Brick Math Lesson of the Month—specifically, helping students discover the formula for area using LEGO® bricks as the manipulative. It's from the Brick Math Teacher and Student Editions of Advanced Measurement and Geometry Using LEGO® Bricks.
To get the free Lesson of the Month, click HERE.
As you read through the teacher lesson guide in the first three pages of the Lesson of the Month, you'll see that the teacher is not simply telling students the formula for the area of a rectangle. Instead, the teacher and students model a 6x8-stud rectangle with LEGO® bricks and together discuss the attributes of the shape and the two dimensions of rectangles. Students are led to understand the formula L x W = A through the process of modeling the rectangle, then drawing their model and labeling it to correspond with the formula. In this Lesson of the Month, the pages from the student workbook, with questions to answer and space for drawing the models, follow the teacher lesson guide pages.
As with all the lessons in Brick Math, this one builds deep understanding of the underlying mathematical principles. The hands-on nature of the lesson encourages the process of math discovery, which helps students learn far beyond rote memorization of a formula.
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.
For more information about Brick 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. Contact us with any questions.
April's Brick Math Lesson of the Month is about Multiplication. It's a great way to show students exactly what multiplication means, using a bundling technique with bricks.
There are two math problems in this lesson of the month to show how the bundling technique works: first, 2 x 25, and second, 3 x 12. In both problems, the math is modeled to show the sets. The problems also show the difference in modeling if the numbers are reversed; i.e., 25 x 2 or 12 x 3.
This Lesson of the Month shows 4 pages from the Multiplication Teacher Edition first, and then the corresponding pages for students to use from the companion Multiplication Student Edition.
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The concept of Least Common Denominator (LCD) is key to being able to add and subtract with fractions that have unlike denominators or compare the size of different fractions. It's essential for students to thoroughly grasp the idea, and until they do so, they can't move forward with fractions.
Modeling with LEGO bricks is the perfect way to teach students how to find the least common denominator. This method from Brick Math, called the "Fraction Train," starts with concrete representation of the math problem using bricks, to teach students exactly where the idea of a common denominator comes from.
1. Start by explaining that the process for finding Least Common Denominator with bricks is called the "Fraction Train." Have students build brick models of 2/3 and 3/4. Label them Fraction 1 and Fraction 2.
2. Discuss the value of the numerators and the denominators of 2/3 and 3/4. Ask students if the wholes are the same, and if not, which whole is larger? Explain that you will be finding the Least Common Denominator so you can compare the fractions.
3. Place one 1x3 brick on the baseplate, showing the denominator of Fraction 1, and under that, a 1x4 brick showing the denominator of Fraction 2.
Now it's time to start building your "fraction train." You'll be building out a train of bricks that makes a rectangle.
Add enough 1x3 bricks to the top row, and enough 1x4 bricks to the bottom row, until both rows are the same length and the bricks form a rectangle. Count the studs in each row (12) to find the Least Common Denominator—the smallest number that both denominators can divide into evenly.
Discuss the fact that 12 is also the equivalent whole for both fractions 2/3 and 3/4.
4. Now it's time to build the equivalent fractions for 2/3 and 3/4, using the Least Common Denominator of 12.
Place two 1x12 bricks on the baseplate to represent the LCD of 12 for each fraction.
5. Look at the fraction train again. There are 4 bricks in the top row of the fraction train. This shows the number of 1x2 bricks (from the numerator of Fraction 1) that will model the numerator of the equivalent fraction. Count the studs in the numerator (8) and the denominator (12) . This shows that the equivalent fraction for 2/3 is 8/12.
6. Repeat the process for Fraction 2. Count the studs on the model of the numerator (9) and on the denominator (12). The equivalent fraction for 3/4 is 9/12.
7. Now the equivalent fractions can be compared, since they both have the same denominator. Have students look at the numerators of each fraction and determine which fraction is larger, based on having the larger number of studs in the numerator. Extend the learning by having students draw their models. Have them write a math sentence that compares the two fractions (2/3 <3/4 because 8/12 < 9/12).
Try Brick Math with your students with a FREE Brick Math lesson every month! You'll be able to download a PDF that includes the teacher instructions for a lesson, plus the student pages that go along with the lesson. It's a great way to test out the Brick Math program with your students. Once you've signed up, you'll receive a new Brick Math lesson every month.
Click here to sign up now for the monthly free lesson plans and student pages to build your Brick Math library!
New year, new FREE Brick Math Lesson of the Month!
For January 2020, the lesson is from Subtraction Using LEGO® Bricks Teacher and Student Editions. The lesson teaches students about subtracting within 20, and utilizes the modeling technique of ten-frames to help students begin to understand the power of our number system that is based on 10.
The ten-frame is built with a 2x5 configuration of bricks. Two easy ways to build a ten-frame are to use either a 2x4 and a 1x2 brick, or to use a 2x3 and a 2x2 brick. Just make sure those bricks are the same color, so the 2x5 configuration of the ten-frame is all one color.
Then the subtraction is modeled on top of the ten-frame. There are two examples in this lesson to demonstrate subtraction using this method: the first one shows 6 - 4 = 2; the second one, which uses two ten-frames to model, shows 12 - 8 = 4.
Try this lesson with your students who are learning the concept of subtraction. You'll only need a few LEGO® or compatible bricks to model both problems, and you'll help your students "see the math"!
Sign up here for the FREE Brick Math Lesson of the Month for January and you'll automatically receive a new lesson every month.
Happy holidays to all! Here's our present to you: A brand-new Brick Math Lesson of the Month!
For December, we have a lesson from Addition Using LEGO® Bricks. The lesson helps students learn two important concepts:
1. How to model place values with bricks
2. How to model addition using those place value models
This is a great way to teach students about place values. The lesson models the ones with 1x1 bricks, the tens with 1x2 bricks, and the hundreds with 1x3 bricks. Once students understand how to model numbers using place values, it’s a short step to learning how to add using place values.
The lesson of the month gives the step-by-step lesson from the Teacher’s Edition first, and then shows the corresponding pages in the Student Edition that students will complete as they learn.
To receive this Lesson of the Month and be registered to get a new one every month, click here.
The second edition of Basic Fractions Using LEGO® Bricks has just been published! This edition has even more ways to teach students about fractions than before.
The first edition of Teaching Fractions Using LEGO® Bricks was the very first book written in the 22-book Brick Math series. Author Dr. Shirley Disseler went back to this best-selling book and thought it was time for an update. The second edition has lots of new illustrations of the brick models as well as several new chapters with content that was not included in the original book. Here's what's new in this second edition:
Right now, until December 15, the Brick Math FREE Lesson of the Month is from the Basic Fractions book, and it shows how to teach students to compare and order fractions, using the fantastic "fraction train" method. To download the free lesson, click here.
Starting today, you can receive a FREE Brick Math lesson every month! You'll be able to download a PDF that includes the teacher instructions for a lesson, plus the student pages that go along with the lesson. It's a great way to try out the Brick Math program with your students
Once you've signed up, you'll receive a new Brick Math lesson every month.
This month, the lesson is from Basic Measurement Using LEGO® Bricks, and it's about "Coin Values." You'll use bricks to model the values of coins: pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. It's a simple, yet very effective, way to help students comprehend the value of each coin and how the coins relate to each other. Typically, students learn about coin values in Kindergarten or first grade.
Click here to sign up now for the monthly free lesson plans + student pages to build your Brick Math library!