Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Learning with LEGO - Mathematics Addition sums of 10

My teaching career has resulted in boxes of manipulatives, visual models that promote hands on learning, to teach a variety of subjects. When I became a SAHM I kept all of my teaching tools with a dream of my children excitedly employing them to learn concepts at home.  My daughter fulfilled that dream, excitedly my exploring the properties of numbers and mathematical operations with my elementary manipulatives.

My son is a different story.

My 5 year old son likes to learn and complete "homework" like his big sister, but it needs to be interesting and something he wants to do.  So I frequently turn one of his favorite toys into a tool to teach mathematics.  Hence a movement of Learning with LEGOs has begun in my household.

My son has recently working on addends (numbers that are added together) that equal a sum (total) of ten.  Below is one of his "lessons."

Comparing Numbers K.CC.C.6
Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group; eg.g. by using matching and counting strategies

Understanding addition K.OA.A.1
Represent addition... with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings, sounds (e.g., claps), acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations. (Note: Drawings need not show details, but should show the mathematics in the problems) 

The child will represent addition problems involving addends  (numbers that are added together) that result in the sum of ten.



  • 1 LEGO Baseplate 1X10
  • 10 LEGO Bricks 1X1
  • 5 LEGO Bricks 1X2
  • 3 LEGO Bricks 1X3
  • 2 LEGO Bricks 1X4
  • 1 LEGO Brick 1X6
  • 1 LEGO Brick 1X8
  • 1 LEGO Brick 1X10
  • Piece of paper
  • Pencil
*I like to use a different color for each size 


1. EXPLORE: Dump all the bricks in a pile and allow your child explore them.

2. OBSERVE: Ask your child what observations they have made about the LEGO Bricks.  (What do they notice?)

Are they all the same size?
What type of differences do you see?
Which ones are the largest?  smallest? same size?
How can they be combined on the LEGO baseplate?

3. SORT: Have your child sort the bricks by size.

4. Have your child count the number of studs on the baseplate. (10)

5. Have your child cover the baseplate with any bricks they want.  The only requirement is that none of the bricks used are sticking off of the baseplate.  Have them draw a picture showing the bricks before they are placed on the baseplate. (If appropriate for your child have them also write the number of studs above each brick picture.)

6. Count the total number of studs on the bricks covering the baseplate. (10)

7. Have your child draw the bricks combined on the baseplate. (If appropriate for your child have them also write the number of studs above each brick picture.)

8. Using their drawing create an addition problem 10.
(explain + and = signs if your child is not familiar with them)

9. Have your child remove the bricks from the baseplate and count the total number of studs on the bricks they used.  Did the number of studs change or stay the same when they were combined on the baseplate?

10. Explain to your child that they just added the studs together to equal a total (sum) of 10 studs.
Ask them what they think addition is?
Discuss that Addition is the putting together (adding to) of numbers.

11. Repeat steps 5-9 several times using different combinations of bricks.

12. Review your child's drawings and discuss the variety of ways they added the groupings of studs on the bricks together to create sums of 10.

As always, adapt this learning activity/lesson to appropriately meet your child's needs.

*For Safety Reasons do not leave young children alone with LEGOs.

More LEGO LEARNING is coming your way.  Comment below if there is a specific skill you would like to see!

Disclosure: No additional compensation was received for this posting.  Always supervise young children around LEGOs.  If you have any questions, please contact Heather RamblingsOfHeather{at} gmail {dot} com


  1. I always love the Lego activities!

  2. We spend a lot of time playing legos in our home.


Thanks a bunch for your comment love!