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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Learning multiplication is NOT memorizing times tables! The rote process of repeating multiplication tables over and over, taking speed tests, and writing math facts ten times each— these instructional methods are not supported in educational research.
Students learn the concept of multiplication best through the process of modeling with manipulatives. And that’s where Brick Math can help students learn multiplication. The Brick Math program uses LEGO® or LEGO®-compatible bricks as the manipulatives. With Brick Math, students create models that help them understand the concepts behind multiplication.
Students begin with the basics—understanding the meaning of multiplication as it relates to repeated addition. This understanding usually begins in grade 2 with the introduction of sets and its relationship to skip-counting. Students then learn basic facts of multiplication through modeling, arrays, and word problems, typically in grade 3. They work on one-digit multiplication problems and later learn how to multiply two-digit numbers and beyond in grades 4 and 5.
In Brick Math, students learn multiplication through an integrated program. They create models using the bricks. They then draw the models they’ve created. Finally, they explain in writing how and why they created the models. These three different ways of interacting with bricks lead to a deep understanding of how multiplication works.
When students model the action of multiplication using bricks, they have the opportunity to create multiple solutions to problems instead of looking for the one right answer.
Watch the video below to see a Brick Math lesson in action. This one is about multiplication fact families. Then click here to download a lesson plan about finding factors from the Brick Math book Multiplication Using LEGO® Bricks—Teacher Edition.
Brick Math is fun! Students love playing with bricks, and Brick Math helps them discover that math can be entertaining. As one Brick Math student said: “Why doesn’t everyone learn math this way?”
Pat Hensley of the blog Successful Teaching just reviewed one of the Brick Math books, Teaching Multiplication Using LEGO Bricks. Glad to say that Pat loved it! Read her whole review here: https://successfulteaching.blogspot.com/2017/08/teaching-multiplication-using-lego.html
Pat found the lessons easy to follow and great for classroom teachers or a homeschool situation. We're supplying a free book for one lucky reader of Successful Teaching, so go to Pat's blog and sign up to win the book before September 4!
Multiplication is not simply the rote memorization of times tables. Students need to understand multiplication concepts. LEGO® bricks are the perfect manipulative to help students model, utilizing their creative and logical processes together. In this book, the hands-on activities using LEGO® bricks help students learn: