Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Presenting on LEGO Math

I was invited to speak at the spring Math Night at a local elementary school about using LEGO bricks to enhance mathematical skills. I presented to a group of 3rd-6th grade students and their parents; we used the LearnToLearn curriculum by LEGO Education.
With Title 1 money, the school was able to buy a kit for every student in attendance and have extra sets to use in the classrooms. Their K-2 students had participated in LEGO Math at the fall Math Night. The goal of this workshop was to help answer the question, "How can you use LEGO bricks at home to strengthen math skills?"

I started by going over LEGO Education's 4C Learning Process: Connecting, Constructing, Contemplating and Continuing. In all phases, role of the parent is to guide their child to help them reach their solution through questions, dialogue, and building together.

Before we gave the LEGO bricks to students, I reviewed symmetry with them. I had student volunteers go over lines of symmetry with the images below.

 With the help of the 3rd-6th grade teachers, we passed out Lego kits and a packet with instructions and various activities for the students and parents to begin practicing with.

I briefly described the activity called "Mirror Mirror." This activity reinforces the concepts of symmetry, as students are to build something that is symmetrical (either with the shape or color) and then they are to engage in a discussion with their parents. Some possible questions included:
  • How did you decided on your design? 
  • How can you check that your design is symmetrical? 
  • Can you show me the middle (symmetrical line) of your design? 
  • Are there any other lines of symmetry?
Then the fun started as students began to build and have excellent discussions with their parents.

The packet the students were given contained other LEGO activities that incorporated math concepts such as "Block and Cover," "What's Behind My Back," and "Balancing Act." However, since the allotted 45 minute time slot was quickly coming to an end, we finished by having students build Mr. Learnie. Mr. Learnie was created by Designer Ina in Denmark and every brick in the set is needed to make him. So is students are able to build Mr. Learnie, they know they have their entire set of LEGO bricks.

Overall, it was a great evening and I was honored to be asked to present. 

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