Thursday, June 11, 2015

How to Teach Multiplication with LEGO

Image from Frugal Fun for Boys
Learning math in a lecture setting can be challenging for children who are more visual or tactile learners. Even students with excellent listening skills and a firm grasp of math concepts would benefit from including a hands-on, visual learning approach, along with other methods for teaching this foundational math skill. If you’re wondering how to teach multiplication concepts to children, this can be a great place to start, or a fun way to reinforce classroom learning.

The LEGO 3-D Multiplication Graph

This fun way to teach multiplication is a fantastic addition to your math teaching arsenal. The LEGO 3-D Multiplication Graph is perfect for children who like to learn with their hands or through observation. It’s also great for most any child in bringing home these concepts in addition to other math learning activities. We recommend this method for any child having difficulty attempting to learn the concept of multiplication in a traditional manner.

Concepts this activity helps to teach include: multiplication, division, grouping and the commutative property.

  • Standard base plate
  • 75 red 1 x 1 bricks
  • 60 blue 1 x 1 bricks
  • 45 yellow 1 x 1 bricks
  • 30 orange 1 x 1 bricks
  • 15 green 1 x 1 bricks

  1. Label your baseplate by taping paper beneath the plate and writing the numbers you're multiplying. In this case, we'll be covering (1 to 5) x 5. Skip a row of studs between each number. [steal pic]
  2. Explain to your child or student how to build out the rows in the graph. The numbers along the bottom show how many groups to build. The numbers along the left show how many numbers will be in each group. 
  3. The first vertical row will be all one color (red). It contains a single group for each number 1-5. 
  4. The second vertical row will have two colors and contain two groups for each number 1-5. And so on. 
  5. Ask questions and make observations as you go along. For instance, the "tower" sizes on the second vertical row are: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.
As you build out the graph, you'll also notice that each tower has a tower of corresponding size in a corresponding spot. For instance, a tower composed of 3 groups of 4 will be the same height as a tower of 4 groups of 3. This is the commutative property, or the ability to rearrange a pair of numbers in a math operation to get the same result.

What other observations can you make? Build out the rest of the graph, and view the final result from different angles. Solicit observations from the participant(s).

Did you like our post on this fun LEGO multiplication game? Consider creating a Pinterest board for learning activities and pin this post!

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