I recently had a DonorsChoose.org project funded that I’m really excited about – Legos to teach place value! I got the idea from my friend Jen who blogged about it over on Hawaii’s HSTA HYPE blog. Basically, instead of using base ten blocks for place value, you use Legos. Here’s why Legos are better:
- Many students have Legos at home and can use them while doing homework
- Students have background knowledge of Legos and already love using them
- Legos create a novelty and bring some fun into your math class
I was intrigued by the idea, so I wrote up a project. Here is what I requested – there are some affiliate links that help me continue to run this blog 🙂
- 2 sets of Drawer Separators
- 2 sets of Multi-colored 10″x10″ Base Plates
Did you know that The Lego Store is now an approved vendor for DonorsChoose? So excited about that! Unfortunately, I had to write a special request because it was a few months ago.
I went into the Pick-a-Brick section of their website and ordered 240 white 2×10 plates (part # 383201) and 200 gray 1×10 bricks (part # 4211521). Using five 2×10 plates lined up on top and 3 spread out on the bottom to secure together, I was able to create 10×10 pieces to use as the hundreds pieces. I got this great idea from Jen, too.
In our math curriculum, we are currently working on standard 1.NBT.C.4: Add within 100, including adding a two-digit number and a one-digit number, and adding a two-digit number and a multiple of 10. Understand that in adding two-digit numbers, one adds tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose a ten.
It’s a long standard and it’s a hard one for kids who are still very literal. We’ve been counting the days in school using base ten blocks every day, but they still don’t understand that 7 tens and 4 ones is the same as 6 tens and 14 ones. Using Legos is absolutely helping. Here are some photos from class as we were adding two 2-digit numbers and regrouping.
You might be wondering about storage and management. I got the drawer organizer so the kids have easy access to the materials and can grab them when they need them. We have to practice with them whole group so they will know how to use them independently. I have 16 sets of tens and ones, but 20 students. So some of the students share. We call that “making a strong choice to share” and I praise the ones who choose to share so that others can have their own. We like making strong choices in my room and doing something that’s best for everyone even if you don’t want to 🙂
I made these labels, laminated them, and stuck them on to the drawers with double sided tape. You are welcome to grab this as a freebie!
Let me know if you end up making a Lego cabinet by tagging me in a pic on IG and using the hashtag #learningwithlegos. I bet your students will love it!