Thursday, May 31, 2012

LEGOS Education?? YES!

On a recent trip to our local LEGO store, there was a very knowledgeable sales person demonstrating a few sets from LEGO Education line. My first thought was, "LEGOs has an educational line?" The second thought was, "AWESOME! I have a little boy who loves LEGOs but hates a lot of traditional approaches to math."

One of the sets that was being demonstrated was the LEGO Duplo Numbers and Mosaics set. It has tiles that attach to 4 included Duplo plates and can be used for a variety of math concepts from number recognition all the way to simple division. There are also shape tiles (similar to tangrams) and design cards to work on geometry skills and visual motor skills. I just had to get this set. Even better was that it was on clearance because of overstock issues, so I got it for 50% off!

A few weeks passed and I completely forgot that I had bought the thing. Then, on one particularly infuriating morning where Ben could not stand math and was fighting me on every activity, I remembered them and decided to pull them out. Why didn't I do it sooner?!? He absolutely loves this set, and so does Kate! The only problem is that Ben also thinks that he can dictate exactly what we do during the lesson, which is an entirely different issue.

Ben insisting that he needed to put on the odd numbers.
He used the equal sign as 11 because he couldn't find more ones... BRILLIANT!
He mastered this skill 2 years ago, but hey, it's extra practice.

Since I have had them out, Ben is REALLY starting to grasp subtraction. He is now understanding that subtraction is the opposite of addition. Since it is motivating (he loves LEGOs) and pressure free (he has all of the fine motor skills necessary to be successful), he wants to do it.

Using the colored shapes to help with subtraction.
This is what we did the very first day.
He had an entirely different set of problems today without the aid of shapes.
It just happened to be the same subtraction problem in the pictures below.

Working the problem without pictures!
This is his "I did it" face. He figured it out!

Both Kate and Ben are loving making pictures using the shape tiles. They are getting their creativity flowing and thinking about the shapes needed to make a picture. This practice is especially good for Ben since he has always struggled with drawing and the visual skills needed to make a group of shapes look like something. 

Ben says this is "happy Ben" wearing a party hat.
Kate's lollipop.

Ben's train. He was excited that he made it himself.

Kate trying to figure out how to match the activity card.
This was very difficult for her to do without help, but she did do it.
The only negative to this set? My family room has looked like this almost non-stop for two days.

We get them picked up and out they get dumped again. I strive for organization and have thought about separating the numbers from the shapes...but I have a feeling that particular attempt at organization will be quickly undone and cause more frustration than necessary.

The LEGO education line has some other really neat sets that I can definitely see in our future. One of those is a robotics set. Since we are still working on the fine motor skills needed for the small LEGOs, I think we will hold off for now. However, my hubby has mentioned that he might just like them... for the boys of course...

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