There are many ways that we can use Lego. As a “must-have” resource for schools nowadays, Lego is no longer just some pieces of toys; they can be used in demonstrating complicated spacial ideas or illustrating numeral and logical connections. In a few words, Lego is now becoming a teaching tool.
Fractions, on the other hand, has been a “must-learn” subject for KS2 pupils. But to help pupils understand the concept of fractions, teachers may have hard times connecting it to the real world. So today I’m going to introduce a good way of using Lego to teach fractions.
Basic Addition and Subtraction of Fractions
Lego is great for activities that reinforce basic addition and subtraction because pupils can combine pieces together and make a bigger brick (addition) or breaking down a bigger brick into small pieces (subtraction). Indeed, this can be a good activity to help with understanding the relationship between addition and subtraction.
Of course, talking in terms of fractions, this activity is great to get a grounding in adding and subtracting fractions with the same denominator.
For example if I give a student 4 blocks and take 1 block away, then they have 3 of 4 pieces and I have 1 of 4 pieces.
Combine LEGO bricks to form a 6 by 8 block in four different ways (see below).
Ask pupils to find a whole, halves, thirds, quarters, sixths or even eighths.
Suggest that the bricks don’t need to be touching to form a half for those working at Greater Depth.
Encourage students to find out more combinations of making small pieces into a whole big one, and challenge them to come up with more combinations by increase the size of the “whole”, and see who can use the most number of bricks.
Match the correct number.
Make some cards with different fractions on them, and ask your pupils to display the number with Lego bricks of different colours. For example, if the card says 3/4, it is asking the students to use three bricks in the same colour, and one brick of another colour.
Lego of luck.
Prepare some Lego bricks in all kinds of colours and a dice. Put children in groups of two. Each child rolls the dice twice; the smaller number rolled will be the numerator, and the larger number will be the denominator. Then ask pupils to use Lego bricks to create that fraction using two different colours.
For example, if a child rolled a 4 and a 1, the fraction is going to be 1/4 and he or she can build it with 1 red brick and 3 yellow bricks (a total of 4 bricks). .
Let’s use the example of adding 1/6 and 2/6.
– Take a thin board piece of Lego (a base) bigger than 4 by 3. (This is just to keep all the pieces together).
– Place two 2 by 3 bricks onto this board. (Each piece has six stubs)
– Place a 1 by 1 brick on top of one 2 by 3 brick (this brick is covering 1/6 of the 2 by 3 brick)
– Place a 2 by 1 brick on top of one 2 by 3 brick (this brick is covering 2/6 of the 2 by 3 brick)
– Students should be able to see that adding the 2 by 1 brick to the same 2 by 3 brick as the 1 by 1 brick, by moving the brick, that 3 of the 6 stubs are covered.
– Hence 1/6 add 2/6 is 3/6