Here at Code Wiz Jersey City, we love LEGO and all the STEM learning opportunities they provide. Invented in 1932 by Ole Kirk, a Danish genius, those little, interlocking brick toys, have become one of the most notable and long-lasting toys in history. Aside from being recognizable worldwide, partnering with major brands and movie franchises, offering endless creativity and being notorious for foot trauma, LEGO opens the door to many educational experiences for everyone in the family.
The LEGO Education brand continuously paves the way in STEM education with their robotics, collaborations with schools, and teamwork opportunities such as the First Lego Leagues. Aside from these more sophisticated teachable opportunities, LEGO can be used easily at school and home for cheap, hands-on, and creative teaching methods. Those little plastic bricks can go a long way in making more difficult math concepts concrete and visual. Check out our list below of simple and fun activities you can do at home with LEGO!
➊ Coding a LEGO Maze
Combining LEGO and coding skills, this activity is one of our favorites. Having students use strips of paper, rather than computers, to use code to solve mazes is an amazing way to develop coding skills off-screen. This activity has multiple levels and is easily adaptable for Kindergarten through High School students. You can find the free printable HERE as well as more in-depth instructions on the blog.
➋ LEGO Fractions
Fractions can be one of the most difficult math topics for students to conceptualize. Oftentimes drawing and dividing up rectangles and squares on a piece of paper is not enough for many young learners to grasp how fractions work, especially equivalent fractions (one half is equivalent to four eighths). LEGO provides a perfect visual representation and manipulation to work through these challenging concepts. Check out this Pinterest search for a plethora of ways to use them for instruction.
➌ Roll the Dice LEGOS
Using dice with LEGOS can yield endless possibilities for a variety of learners. One of our favorite activities to use with younger children is to have them roll the dice and practice their number recognition and then count out that many LEGOS. It is great practice for basic numeracy skills. If your children are older, use dice to turn LEGO building into a competitive game. Take turns rolling the dice to see how many LEGO pieces you’re allowed to use during each round. Looking to make it even more fun? Check out these large foam dice! We also really love this “Roll a LEGO person” activity found here.
➍ Pattern Making
Pattern making and pattern recognition are not only great early math skills, but also serve as pre-coding activities for our youngest learners. With common colors and shapes in the LEGO world, it’s easy for children to identify, build and create patterns. In our Toddler Duplo Play class on Thursdays, we love using the larger DUPLO blocks and pre-laminated cards to have our littlest coders engaging in these all-important skills.
➎ LEGO Area and Perimeter
Just like LEGO fractions practice, using LEGOS for area and perimeter is a great tool for interacting with these often challenging problems. Students can line up the blocks on a table and count the “dots” to figure out the area and perimeter of each problem. Additionally, your child can line up the blocks on grid paper and then shade in afterward.
➏ LEGO Multiplication
Similar to using dots on dice to help with multiplication skills, the dots on LEGOS can help children visualize multiplication problems and physically count out the number of dots, if necessary. In addition to basic multiplication practice, your children can also use the LEGO pieces to build arrays, stack towers, and understand perfect squares.
If you’re interested in exploring more ways to use LEGOS at home or in your classroom a quick Google or Pinterest search will lead you down a rabbit hole of cool ideas. It’s amazing the things that parents and teachers are coming up with. Have a cool way that you use LEGOS for teaching? Share your image on social media and tag CodeWizJerseyCity in your photo!
Check out photos from our recent Code Wiz Jersey City Open House: