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?”