What’s the best way to learn the multiplication tables? Is it memorizing or rote-learning the time’s table, or does the secret lie in the speed tests? You may be in a dilemma as a teacher bothered about those few students who struggle to get the concept with the rest of the class. You might also be a parent who needs to make sure that your child is taking this crucial step in math without any training.
Memorizing times tables is NOT learning multiplication! Modern teaching methods do not endorse taking speed tests, rote memorization, and writing math facts multiple times.
How can Children Best Understand the Multiplication Concept?
Children learn the multiplication concept best when it is modeled with the help of manipulatives. And that’s where Legos can help them learn and understand multiplication. You can use LEGO as the manipulatives. Students can create various models to help them comprehend the concepts behind multiplication. It allows them to utilize their creative and logical processes collectively.
If you help a student learn multiplication, you can use varied strategies to understand the meaning of multiplication according to their age. You can start with modeling arrays to help them learn basic facts of multiplication. They can work on one-digit multiplication problems, typically in grade 3. Later, they can learn how to multiply two-digit numbers and more in grades 4 and 5.
When students model the action of multiplication using Legos, they have the chance to come up with multiple solutions to problems instead of sticking to finding one right answer. It helps them utilize their creative and logical processes together.
How do you help the kids (or even adults) quickly learn multiplication tables using Lego, though?
Students need to picture and logically recognize what is happening in multiplication if they want to master it. There are various techniques and methods to do it, and using Lego bricks is recognized as one of the best ways to learn multiplication tables quickly. Here are some great ways to help any student learn and understand how multiplication works using Legos.
Show Equal Groups Using Legos
Find me a kid who doesn’t love to build with Legos. It’s next to impossible, a complete rarity to find one who wouldn’t make something with these colorful bricks. So, learning can be lots of fun and interesting when they get to use Legos.
Building equal groups of Lego bricks is easy. Ask your student or child to dive into the pile of Legos and create similar groups. For example, you can ask them to make four groups of 3. When they have sorted the groups from the pile, ask them to count the total number of Legos they have used.
Practice this activity several times with different numbers. Ask them to write a number sentence to signify their groups on a paper or whiteboard. If you feel that they are struggling, you can prompt them by asking how they found the total. Either they would be counting all the Lego pieces individually or adding the groups (3+3+3+3+3+3. You can help them to do it with multiplication.
If you are wondering, how? It is effortless.
Ask them how many 3s do they have? When they say “4,” you can demonstrate how to write the same thing using multiplication instead of addition. Once you get the hang of it, you can use flashcards or call out problems for them to try with Lego bricks.
Times Tables Race with Lego Towers
Learning can be fun! This game proves it, and it is a great way to teach multiplication and keep everyone, old and young, busy indoors.
Things Needed for the Game:
- 1 Dice
- 24 Lego
- Four square stud bricks
- a marker
If you want to revise your times’ tables from 1 to 12 or want kids of all ages to do it, you can do this one set at a time.
Choose a times table that you want to revise. Let’s take a five times table as an example. Write one multiple of five on one side of all 24 Lego bricks – 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60. In this way, you will have two identical sets.
Place these sets roughly in the center of your playing area.
The game’s main aim is to build towers with the multiples of the five times (or any other time table you are working with) in the correct order. For a 5 times table, it will be 5-60.
Each player will have to take turns rolling the dice. When each player rolls one, they pick up the brick numbered 5 (1×5=5). When they roll 2, only then, they pick up the brick number 10 as 2×5=10 and place this brick on the first brick to start building the tower. Next, the players will need to roll 3 and so on till they reach number 12.
To eliminate any confusion, you can guide the players that once they have got 6, each roll will count for a double roll. For instance, one will be considered 7 (7×5=35), two will be number eight, 8×5=40, and so on. The player to build the quickest tower wins.
Using LEGO Minifigures for Multiplication
Lego Minifigures are cute, and you may have come across so many cute and funny pictures with these Minifigures. Well, they are equally handy for multiplication activities too.
Things you will need:
- LEGO baseplate
- a bunch of mini-figures
For this particular activity, the students need to make equal groups using the Lego Minifigures. You can use your multiplication flashcards to build these groups.
You can represent 7 x 2 = 14 with seven groups of 2 LEGO guys in each group for the younger kids. The older kids can make the groups themselves on your call out or flashcard.
Now ask students to check if two groups of 7 LEGO guys were equal to 7 groups of 2. Viola! They will be equal to each other.
Can We Teach multiplication using arrays with LEGO?
Yes. It is very easy to teach multiplication using arrays with LEGO bricks! You can use a single brick and count the studs or use multiple bricks and group them for larger arrays.
How can older students practice fact practice with Lego?
Students can take several bricks of the same type. They can multiply the studs on the bricks by the number of bricks they have. This kind of LEGO math also gives them subitizing practice.
Can Lego help with other Math concepts?
Yes. Traditional methods of teaching manipulatives are not attractive to students anymore. That’s why you need to think outside of the box. You can teach all the skills with Legos from demonstrating addition, counting, times tables, and beyond.
Make Learning Fun
Someone wise once said, “If children can’t learn the way you teach them, then you must teach the way they can learn.”
Using Legos for teaching Multiplication and other math concepts is the futuristic approach. It is about time that you let go of the counters, Cuisenaire rods, and colored tiles and use Legos to help children learn and understand math playfully with this phenomenal super-toy.