Montessori Math with Legos

Legos, a universally loved children’s toy, can be used to do many of the Montessori math activities involving beads described in previous Math post for both Sunflower https://www.lajollamontessori.com/post/math-activities-for-the-sunflower-class and Monarch https://www.lajollamontessori.com/post/math-activities-for-the-monarch-class children. Since children love them, Legos might entice some students to re-engage with math learning.

Numbers 1-10

In Montessori, we use a set of colored beads to teach children to count and identify numbers 1-10. This helps children learn both the numerical symbol for each number and the quantity each represents. Associating symbol and quantity is essential to truly understanding numbers.

Above you can see the colored beads and numbers we use in the Montessori classroom. You can use Legos to create the same bead chains at home (see below). If possible, it would be best for the children if you use the same familiar bead color scheme with the Legos. Let the child help you create the Lego chains, and count the number of Lego pegs while creating the chains.

Using the worksheet to work with this material:

Review each Lego chain by counting the number of Lego pegs and identifying the number and color. Print the following bead stair chart and, using the Legos as a reference, ask the child to color the beads (each bead circle individually) and to write the appropriate number next to each bead chain: https://www.imagineourlife.com/printables/BeadStair-colorsheet.pdf

Teen Beads/Legos:

In Montessori, we use the bead chains to teach the teen numbers including their names, symbols, and quantities. We show the children that teens can be formed by adding various colored bead chains to golden ten beads. We introduce the teens sequentially, starting with 11, making sure the children learn the proper names for each quantity. Here is what this looks like:

You can do the same with Legos. With the Lego chains you can also play a game in which you ask the child to make teens out of the Legos (e.g. can you make 12, 15, 18 etc.) to test their knowledge.

Here is an example showing how to form 12 using the Legos in place of the beads. 

Here is 18:

Using the worksheet to work with this material:

Once the child knows the teen numbers and how to form them out of the Legos, use the Legos as a reference to work with the 11-20 beads worksheet. Ask the child to trace each number with a pencil and to count and color the beads on the worksheet.

Ten Beads/Legos:

In Montessori we also use the golden ten bead chains to teach the tens, including their names, symbols, and quantities. We show the children that the tens are formed by adding a certain number of golden ten bead chains together (e.g. 5 ten beads makes 50).

You can do the same with Legos, although sticking with the gold bead color scheme might be difficult. Still, you can build tens with Legos, and teach children their names, symbols, and quantities this way. Like for the teens, you can play a game with the Legos asking the child to create a variety of tens (e.g. can you make 20, can you make 50, etc.) as a way to test their knowledge.

Using the worksheet to work with this material:

Just like for the teens, you can use these Legos as a reference for working with the following 3 ten number worksheets: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xN4IA4f57wwec8oqFD9LxH1qhz1VbHY1/view?usp=sharing. Make sure to count, color, and trace the numbers on the worksheets.

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