To celebrate "The Year of Brick Math," we're adding a new feature to the free Brick Math Lesson of the Month -- video! Dr. Shirley Disseler, author of the Brick Math curriculum, demonstrates the April 2021 lesson in a five-minute video that shows the concepts for comparing and ordering 3 fractions with unlike denominators.
To get the April 2021 lesson, "Comparing and Ordering Fractions," and a link to the video lesson, plus a new lesson each month, sign up here.
Elementary school math teachers know how tricky this skill can be for students to comprehend. When they look at the fractions 1/2, 3/8, and 3/4, many students will think that 3/8 is the biggest fraction of the three, since the denominator is the largest number. This lesson demonstrates the "fraction train" method of finding a common denominator using LEGO bricks to build the fraction models and model the equivalent fractions.
This lesson is from Chapter 7 of Basic Fractions Using LEGO Bricks in the Brick Math series. Students typically learn this skill in grades 3 - 4. Modeling the math with bricks makes it easy to learn. Try the free lesson with your students to see how much fun it is to learn with Brick 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 are not shared between students. It adapts easily to online instruction.
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.
While kids are learning from home, Brick Math helps to make math fun! Dr. Shirley Disseler (aka "Dr. D") has launched a series of videos for students that help them learn K - 6 math using LEGO® bricks!
In the "Brick Math with Dr. D" videos, Dr. Disseler teaches Brick Math directly to students, showing them the brick modeling techniques and explaining the "why" behind the math.
"It's a great way for kids to start using LEGO® bricks to learn math concepts while they're home," says Dr. Disseler. "The lessons are really fun for kids to do, and they feel a great sense of satisfaction when they learn by building along with me as they watch the videos."
"Brick Math with Dr. D" videos have lessons in Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Basic Fractions. New videos are being added all the time to cover more math subjects.
Says Dr. Disseler, "And parents are welcome to join us—Brick Math is fun for everyone!"
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?”
Some students who have mastered the concepts of addition and subtraction lose their way when they try to learn division. Many math textbooks don’t help students learn division.
Students learn the concept of division best through the process of modeling with manipulatives. Brick Math uses manipulatives that kids love: LEGO® bricks! With Brick Math, students create models that help them understand the concepts behind division.
Brick Math helps students learn division through an integrated program. The teacher uses the step-by-step lesson plan to show students each concept. Then students create brick models of the math as they learn. They draw the models they’ve created and explain in writing what the models mean. These three different ways of interacting with bricks lead to a deep understanding of division.
The Brick Math Division book uses a step-by-step approach to break down these division concepts into learning modules:
Watch the video below to see a Brick Math lesson for teaching division basics.
Click here for a FREE preview of the Brick Math book Division Using LEGO® Bricks—Teacher Edition.
When students model the action of division using bricks, they have the opportunity to create multiple solutions to problems instead of looking for one right answer.
Brick Math is fun! Students love learning math with bricks. A teacher said: “My students would rather do Brick Math than go to recess! They love it!”
Learning fractions is difficult for many elementary school students. Even those who have succeeded in learning other math concepts may come up against a roadblock when they start to learn fractions.
Research shows that the best way to learn fractions involves modeling fractions with manipulatives. Brick Math is the perfect way to learn fractions, because the manipulatives used in Brick Math are LEGO® bricks!
Brick Math helps students learn fractions through its integrated program. The teacher leads students through step-by-step lesson plans. Using the bricks, students create models of the math as they learn. They then draw the models they’ve created and explain in writing how the models work. These different ways of interacting with the bricks lead to a deep understanding of fractions.
Brick Math gives students the opportunity to create multiple solutions for problems instead of looking for only one right answer. Students who haven’t been able to understanding fractions before will learn fractions with Brick Math.
The video below shows a Brick Math lesson about adding fractions with like denominators.
Brick Math is fun! Students love using bricks to learn math. One student said it all: “I finally understand fractions. I can see them!”
To see more fractions lesson plans, click here to get a FREE preview of the Brick Math Basic Fractions book.
We've begun a fun series of videos designed to show how easy it is to teach the lessons provided in The Brick Math Series. Whether you're teaching division, multiplication, or fractions, these hands-on, easy-to-follow lessons can help engage students and help them grasp math concepts.