## LEGO Math

In this lesson, children will practice counting and adding whole numbers using LEGO blocks.

### Lesson for:

Toddlers/Preschoolers

(See Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.)

### Content Area:

Algebra

Numbers and Operations

### Learning Goals:

This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers **meet the following educational standards**:

- Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers and

number systems - Understand meanings of operations and how they relate to one another
- Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates
- Use mathematical models to represent and understand quantitative relationships

### Learning Targets:

After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be **more proficient** at:

- Counting with understanding and recognizing “how many” in sets of objects
- Developing understanding of the relative position and magnitude of whole numbers and of ordinal and cardinal numbers and their connections
- Developing a sense of whole numbers and representing and using them in flexible ways, including relating, composing and decomposing numbers
- Understanding various meanings of addition and subtraction of whole numbers and the relationship between the two operations
- Understanding the effects of adding and subtracting whole numbers
- Developing and using strategies for whole-number computations, with a focus on addition and subtraction
- Developing fluency with basic number combinations for addition and subtraction
- Using a variety of methods and tools to compute, including objects, mental computation, estimation, paper and pencil and calculators
- Illustrating general principles and properties of operations, such as commutativity, using specific numbers
- Modeling situations that involve the addition and subtraction of whole numbers, using objects, pictures and symbols

## LEGO Math

### Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

#### Step 1: Gather materials.

**LEGO blocks****Recording sheets**(The children will be counting the round tops of the LEGO blocks. You can either copy the LEGO blocks and create a recording sheet or simply draw colored rectangles and squares with dots on them to represent the LEGO blocks)

**Note**: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

#### Step 2: Introduce activity.

**Engage**the children in a conversation about LEGO blocks. Do they**count**LEGO blocks while building with them? Which LEGO blocks are best to build with? What do they typically build when using LEGO blocks?**Explain**that they they are going to use the LEGO blocks for counting and adding.**Explain**that they are not going to**count**the number of blocks. Instead, they are going to**count**the connecting dots on the tops of the LEGO blocks.**Say**: “We will be adding LEGO blocks together and**counting**the**total**number of connecting dots on the tops of the blocks.”**Model**the activity by using two different LEGO blocks.**Introduce**the recording sheet.**Explain**that the children will look at the LEGO blocks,**add**the number of dots and put the total number of dots on the given line, after the**equal**sign.**Say**: “The orange block has eight dots and the blue block has six dots.”**Ask**: “How many dots do the two LEGO blocks have in all?”- Have extra LEGO blocks or other counting manipulatives available if the children need manipulatives to help them count.

#### Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

**Distribute**recording sheets and LEGO blocks.**Work through the first problem**together as a group. Once you are confident that the children understand the activity, allow them to work independently.

**Additional Extensions**

- Create a new recording sheet that the children can use to add two LEGO blocks to another LEGO block or add two LEGO blocks to two LEGO blocks.

- Create a recording sheet that the children can use to subtract a smaller LEGO block from a larger LEGO block.

#### Step 4: Vocabulary.

**Add**:**add**four dots on a LEGO block to four dots on another LEGO block, I get eight dots on both LEGO blocks.”**Equals**:**equals**eight dots on both LEGO blocks.”**Altogether**: In total.**altogether**?”**Count**: To identify the amount of something by number: “How many dots do you have? 1-2-3!” (Point to each dot while saying “1-2-3”).**Total**:**total**number of dots on both LEGO blocks?”

#### Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

##### Adapt Lesson for Toddlers

###### Toddlers may:

- Not easily count up to or beyond 10

###### Child care providers may:

- Have the children count the LEGO blocks, not the dots on top of the LEGO blocks
- Use smaller LEGO blocks with combined dots of 10 or less

##### Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers

###### Preschoolers may:

- Easily count single- and double-digit numbers
- Be able to add single-digit numbers

###### Child care providers may:

- Create a new recording sheet that the children can use to add two LEGO blocks to another LEGO block or add two LEGO blocks to two LEGO blocks
- Create a recording sheet that the children can use to subtract a smaller LEGO block from a larger LEGO block

### Suggested Books

by Daniel Lipkowitz (New York: DK Children, 2012)*The LEGO Book*by Jerry Pallotta (New York: Scholastic, 2001)*Hershey’s Kisses Addition*by Betsy Franco (Berkeley, CA: Tricycle Press, 2011)*Double Play: Monkeying Around with Addition*

### Music and Movement

### Outdoor Connections

**The following activity can be done indoors or outdoors**. Have the children build with LEGO blocks and then count how many LEGO blocks they used in their creations. Set a theme. For example, tell the children to build spaceships and then label how many LEGO blocks they used to build their spaceships. This allows for many extensions: graphing, more than, less than, differences, similarities, etc.

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