Is your daughter struggling with memorizing multiplication tables? Is your son more interested in Hotwheels® than homework? Don’t panic. Before running out to hire a tutor, taking on after school classes or starting daily drills with prepackaged flash cards, pack up the family and head to the LEGO® store.
Abstract concepts like squaring or cubing numbers instantly become concrete when a child actually builds the square or the cube.
The same colorful cubes and rectangular prisms that constructed so many fantastic things from our childhood imaginations are also the building blocks of virtually any mathematical concept. A basic starter set of LEGO® bricks can be used to teach addition, subtraction, sorting, skip-counting, multiplication, division, squaring, cubing, fractions, geometry and even algebra. LEGO® bricks also teach size order, strategy, logic, color recognition, develop fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, patience, concentration, and the ability to think outside of the box. So much so, that LEGO® has an entire division for education and training teachers to use their products as teaching tools, and businesses and business schools are training their employees and students using the LEGO® methodology to enhance innovation and business performance.
Over the years, the one question I hear constantly is: "What can I do for my child at home?" My answer is always the same: Play. But with what? As an avid believer and practitioner of the Montessori Method, the place to start is to follow your child’s interests and abilities. So no matter the decade, no matter the fad or latest craze, these two truths will make the most of your time together. LEGO® bricks remain a terrific and timeless way to teach, reinforce, and literally deconstruct an endless number of concepts, through creative play.
Contributed by Bridie L. Gauthier, New York, NY (Head of Schools, Montessori School of Manhattan)