New research shows that Brick Math: Teaching Math Using LEGO® Bricks is very successful as an elementary math teaching tool. Two important findings emerged from this study: 1. Students make dramatic improvements in test scores 2. Students are highly engaged with the Brick Math method of learning The research confirms that when students are engaged with the material, they are more likely to learn it fully. And students are fully engaged with the handson Brick Math program. Here's what the study showed: 1,400 K5 students in North Carolina and New Jersey were taught using Brick Math in these six content areas:
The results: Brick Math engages students fully, and it achieves powerful learning growth!
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When a child plays a game where they give some things and keep others, they are starting to learn subtraction. But when they begin to learn subtraction in school, it can be tricky. Building models of subtraction with LEGO® bricks is a great way to show students how subtraction works. The Brick Math: Teaching Math Using LEGO® Bricks program utilizes the bricks as a manipulative for demonstrating the action of the math. Rather than taking away items that are subtracted, the program shows subtraction by stacking bricks, so that what’s left can be easily counted and understood. And as you can imagine, students have fun learning with LEGO® bricks! In Subtraction Using LEGO® Bricks, the handson activities using LEGO® bricks help students learn the concepts of: • start unknown subtraction • change unknown subtraction • result unknown subtraction • comparisons • decomposing numbers and place value Brick Math helps students learn subtraction through its integrated program. The teacher leads students through stepbystep lesson plans. Using the bricks, students create models of the math as they learn. They then draw the models they’ve created and explain how the models work. These different ways of interacting with the bricks lead to a deep understanding of subtraction. Modeling subtraction with LEGO® bricks in the Brick Math curriculum gives students the chance to be creative while learning math. They quickly discover multiple solutions for problems rather than looking for only one right answer. Using LEGO® bricks to learn math with Brick Math is fun—for the teacher AND the students! Click here to see videos of lessons from Subtraction Using LEGO® Bricks—Teacher Edition. Click here for a preview of the lesson, “What Does It Mean to Subtract?” from Subtraction Using LEGO® Bricks—Teacher Edition. Learning addition is far more than memorizing “one plus one makes two”! After young students know about counting and cardinal numbers, they need to understand the idea of sets and putting objects together. Building models of addition with LEGO® bricks is the perfect way to show students the action of addition. The bumps on the bricks, which are called “studs,” are a great tool for using onetoone correspondence to teach addition. Plus (pun intended!), students have fun learning with LEGO® bricks! In Addition Using LEGO® Bricks, the handson activities using LEGO® bricks help students learn the concepts of: • joining sets • solving partpartwhole problems • comparisons • decomposing numbers • place value Brick Math helps students learn addition through its integrated program. The teacher leads students through stepbystep lesson plans. Using the bricks, students create models of the math as they learn. They then draw the models they’ve created and explain how the models work. These different ways of interacting with the bricks lead to a deep understanding of addition. There are many different ways to model with LEGO® bricks in the Brick Math curriculum, and students have the opportunity to create multiple solutions for problems instead of looking for only one right answer. Learning math using LEGO® bricks with Brick Math is fun—for the teacher AND the students! Click here for a preview of the lesson, “What Does It Mean to Add?” from Addition Using LEGO® Bricks—Teacher Edition. The first step in learning math is learning to count. But there’s more to counting than just reciting a string of numbers in order—lots more. You want your students to develop a solid base of fluency with numbers. They do this by learn to count on, count back, skipcount, and use onetoone correspondence. Modeling math with manipulatives gets early learners off on the right foot. Brick Math uses LEGO® bricks as the manipulative to help your students visualize the math, so it’s fun to learn! In Counting and Cardinality Using LEGO® Bricks, the handson activities using LEGO® bricks help students learn: • pattern recognition • skipcounting • jump numbers • concepts of more than and less than • onetoone correspondence Brick Math helps students learn counting and cardinality through its integrated program. The teacher leads students through stepbystep lesson plans. Using the bricks, students create models of the math as they learn. They then draw the models they’ve created and explain how the models work. These different ways of interacting with the bricks lead to a deep understanding of counting and cardinality. Using LEGO® bricks to model math adds creativity into the process of learning math. Brick Math gives students the opportunity to create multiple solutions for problems instead of looking for only one right answer. Click here to see several videos of lessons from Counting and Cardinality Using LEGO® Bricks—Teacher Edition. Using LEGO® bricks to learn math with Brick Math is fun—for the teacher AND the students! Click here for a preview of a lesson from Counting and Cardinality Using LEGO® Bricks—Teacher Edition. You’re an elementary school teacher who loves LEGO® bricks, and you’ve always wanted to use them to teach math. Finally, there’s a program to do it — Brick Math: Teaching Math Using LEGO® Bricks! Test out Brick Math with one Teacher Edition of any subject and one Student Edition of that subject. Use your own LEGO® bricks for now; the specific bricks you’ll need are listed at the beginning of each chapter and the whole list of bricks needed for the program is in each book's Appendix. Work through a few chapters with a student oneonone. You’ll quickly see how easy Brick Math is to teach, and how much students enjoy learning this way. The two books will set you back less than $25, and the small investment will earn great rewards for you and your students. Another great way to start with Brick Math is to choose one subject and introduce it in a small group setting. For example, maybe you have some fourth graders who haven’t really ever understood fractions. Here’s all you need to start working with four students at a time: one Teacher Edition of Basic Fractions Using LEGO® Bricks, two brick sets (each set can be shared between two students), and (optional) four companion Student Editions of Basic Fractions Using LEGO® Bricks. This will cost less than $175. If your PTA offers small grants to teachers, this is the perfect use for that money! Here’s how you teach with any subject in Brick Math:
And here are some tips that author Dr. Shirley Disseler says will help when you’re first introducing Brick Math to your students:
Check the Brick Math website for videos that will help you get started teaching with Brick Math. The site, www.brickmath.com, has lots of info about how to teach math using LEGO® bricks! 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 skipcounting. Students then learn basic facts of multiplication through modeling, arrays, and word problems, typically in grade 3. They work on onedigit multiplication problems and later learn how to multiply twodigit 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 stepbystep 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 stepbystep 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 stepbystep 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 like to think of Brick Math as the Swiss Army Knife of educational programs. It’s a versatile teaching tool that works in many different settings. Whole class: The Brick Math program can be introduced to the whole class by the teacher. In fact, many schools have adopted Brick Math as their elementary math curriculum across the school. Once teachers get accustomed to using the LEGO® bricks as the manipulative tool, they recognize the power of the builddrawexplain Brick Math lesson plans. The teacher works through the lessons in each book, having the students build models at the same time. A document camera is a great help for displaying the brick models to the whole class so everyone can see them. Students share brick sets in pairs and often work together in the lessons, comparing their models and explaining their thinking processes to each other. The Student Edition makes it especially easy for teachers to assess and track students’ progress. Small Group: Brick Math is often used by a school math specialist in a smallgroup setting. It’s very well suited to the interactive nature of small group learning. Intervention: Schools are discovering the value of Brick Math as the perfect tool for math intervention. The modular components of the Brick Math system allow the program to be introduced at any point where a student is having difficulty learning through the schoolwide math textbook curriculum. Time and time again, students who have been struggling with learning a concept such as fractions, for example, are successful with the Brick Math approach. We’ve heard kids make comments like: “Finally! I understand the math because I can see it!” and “Why doesn’t everyone learn math this way?” Gifted: As useful as Brick Math is for students who aren’t learning math through other teaching methods, it’s also great as enrichment for students who already understand and love math. Centers or OnetoOne: Students really enjoy the handson nature of Brick Math, making it very adaptable to onetoone learning or individual centers. Like the Swiss Army Knife, Brick Math has something for everyone! High Point University, home of Brick Math author Dr. Shirley Disseler, celebrated International LEGO Day yesterday, encouraging HPU students to come to the Stout School of Education and build something out of bricks that they are passionate about.
Dr. Disseler is passionate about using the bricks to help students learn math. Her Brick Math curriculum for elementary and middle school was developed to help students conceptualize math, or, as Dr. Disseler says, "to understand the why behind the math." Here's the full article about International LEGO Day at HPU, courtesy of the HIgh Point Enterprise. 
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