This is a class engaged in a Math Lego Lesson. It is has a lovely sens of discovery.
This is a review of the potential of using lego to build a maths curriculum:
1. The use of simple blocks and models to create primary lessons
There is a huge room for use of Lego in the primary curriculum. It needs structuring and codifying but I think it could be a real hit! Here are some key examples.
- Lego fractions
- Lego ratios
- volume and area calculations of cuboids
- multiplication tables built as quickly as possible
Some inspired educators on Printerest posted the following inspirations:
2. The development in the US of Lego “build to express” gives opportunities of using Lego in a more comprehensive modelling manner. At the heart of this idea is children using Lego to build a model and explore its learning possibilities. The lessons can be done in a guided manner to meet explicit learning goals or an inquiry led manner.
Here is a collection of a few interesting models developed by different US educators;
Great video discussing the process click here
Preliminary research done by Dr Little of Baylor University has shown that there is a high level of motivation created in this type of learning with an increased ability in problem solving.
3. WeDo Educational robots
Lego has been into education robots for the last 15 years. However the simplified educational robotics of WeDO have been tailored for the primary aged learner.
It is en excellent resource for teaching the basics of logic and programming. The mechanical items allow a full investigation of basic cogs, gears and levers. However I think with a bit of tailoring this resource could also be used to teach maths :
a) The robots could have to be programmed to complete tasks involving time, counting and speed.
b)Robotic cranes could be used to explore weights and height
c) The robots could be programmed to do activities which mimic multiplication e.g. Move 3 blocks to build a wall of 30 blocks or move round a multiplication maze
d) The robots could be used to play with the idea of percentage e.g. A robot could be fed blocks and for every block received the engine could go 10% faster or the robot could move 10% further.
What we need is a group of inspired educators to build a series of blinding maths lessons to utilise the learning potential of these systems.
4. Mindstorm – the grandady of educational robots
Mindstorm was first first brought to the market in 2006 and has gone through series of evolutions to create the present Mindstorm EV3 product. It combines the power of full technical Lego with a completely programmable robot which can receive sensor inputs and output to motors and pneumatic systems.
The Mindstorm product is used extensively in STEM engineering projects in educational setting. The programming language is an extended version of the WeDO interface giving a very quick intuitive approach to programming.
The potential for using this as a maths learning system is limited as the process of engineering would be take are too much of the time. Another approach to learn maths would be to have an automated city simulation where energy could be controlled. This could allow the investigation of:
a) Percentage increases and decreases
b) Linear programming to balance city loads
c) Algebraic solutions for traffic light systems
This product would need more investigation and could be replaced in maths learning with a combination of Wolfram connect to a raspberry pi.
LEGO is ideally suited for series as you can see the relation to the times table very easily.
The series can then be represented more imaginatively by building models based on the series. Problems like two light house with different sequences can be modelled and the overlapping interval visually found
1. Number Bond Models
Make a models which represent the addition of different numbers, see below:
Presently the limitation is in the block sizes; LEGO has 1,2,3,4,6,8,10,12,16. We really could do with the following bricks 5×2, 5×1 and 7×1. Perhaps we can persuade LEGO of the advantage of this molding.
1. Show and build
Aspects of times tables encourage the students to add in blocks of 8 and look for patterns
2. Partner Work as a system of testing
This is 3d version of times table testing done in pairs. However the twist interests students:
3. Times Table Model Partner Qiz.
Make a model of the times tables which muddle the order and force the student to explore to find the answer can encourage retention. The partner then asks questions and the student has to explore the model to find answers.
4. Explore and Build
Pose problems with in the times table youa re studying that the student have to build. Can you build a square out of 4×8? The puzzles can be open or closed.
LEGO® Engineering Conference – 24 September 2013, 9am – 5.30pm
Incorporating LEGO® Robotics in Computing, Science, Maths, and D&T education
That’s why LEGO Education has teamed up with the Department of Computer Science at Warwick to present a LEGO Engineering Conference featuring Chris Rogers.
Chris is a highly respected and internationally recognised expert in teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, STEM, through hands-on, problem-solving challenges. He has many years experience working with educators to inspire youngsters to understand the value of STEM, using resources such as LEGO MINDSTORMS Education, a unique robotics solution designed for classrooms.
The day will include presentations and hands-on workshops on the use of LEGO MINDSTORMS Education in the classroom, including
- A first look at the new LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3!
- Presentations about First LEGO League and RoboCupJunior
- Reflections from teachers who have successfully used LEGO materials in their teaching
- Meeting and talking to other teachers using LEGO MINDSTORMS
- LEGO therapy
A Study of Motivation and Problem Solving Using LEGO® Education BuildToExpress™ in Elementary Social Studies Lessons
Cindy Little, Ph.D.
BuildToExpress™ is a process that focuses on developing academic, social, and cognitive skills in individuals from ages six to adult. The process uses LEGO® Education Expressions Sets that allow for the building of thoughts and ideas and contains the following four core elements:
- The Challenge: A facilitator asks participants to build something.
- The Building Phase: Participants build their responses using their individual LEGO sets.
- The Sharing Phase: Participants share their model with others.
- The Recap: The facilitator and participants summarize what was learned.
The main purpose of this mixed-methods study was to investigate whether or not this process impacted motivation and problem-solving skills in fourth-grade students during social studies lessons at an elementary school in central Texas.
The research design encompassed the following three primary objectives:
- To find out if students experience flow while using BuildToExpress
- To find out if using BuildToExpress increases intrinsic motivation
- To explore teacher and student perceptions of using BuildToExpress while solving problems
To ensure the validity of the study, the following steps were built into the research design: Choosing three classrooms (two experimental and one control) with similar student populations; triangulation of data collected on flow (two trained observers comparing observed flow behaviors with student self-reports); the use of a standardized, psychometrically valid and reliable instrument to measure intrinsic motivation (the Children’s Academic Intrinsic Motivation Inventory) in an ABA modified time series experimental design; and a list of interview questions used across all group interviews.
The results of the study were very favorable:
- All students experienced mid to high levels of flow across every study session.
- Test results supported the idea that BuildToExpress increased intrinsic motivation (see below).
- Student and teacher interviews revealed that BuildToExpress positively impacted problem solving.
A bit about Dr. Little:
Dr. Cindy Little holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Baylor University, an M.A.T. in gifted education from Whitworth College, and a BA in elementary education from Northwest University. She is currently an instructor at Baylor’s School of Education where she teaches research methods and child development courses. She also has extensive experience as a senior editor and managing editor of gifted education journals, has more than 16 years experience working in pre-K through university level learning environments, and owns her own research and consulting business (www.innovrecon.com). Her areas of research interest and expertise are the theory of flow, creativity, critical thinking, and qualitative research methods.
A firm believer in constructivist, hands-on approaches to learning, Dr. Little regularly incorporates the use of the BuildToExpress process into her university coursework. She believes that in order for her students to become the best teachers, she needs to model best teaching practices. It is not enough for students to simply hear a lecture about how to use the BuildToExpress process. They need to experience the process and learn through it for themselves. She has found this approach to be very successful with her students as they find the process highly motivating and a new way to learn. It is always fun to watch adult students set their laptops, pencils, and notebooks aside and begin to build such things as their personal paradigms of education or models of best parenting practices. Dr. Little believes the BuildToExpress process holds great potential for learning across all ages of students, and she will continue to use it in both her teaching and research.