Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lego Creations Math Challenge

Hi ,Teaching Friends!

Are you a fan of Legos?  I've always thought that Legos would have been an obsession of my husband's had they been as big a thing when he was growing up as they are now. He grew up in the Lincoln Log era, but sure does love building with Legos with our grandkids now! One of our sons-in-law had an immense collection growing up. His mom saved a ton of them and now his kids are enjoying them. Our 5-year-old grandson is a huge fan, and is already showing his love and talent for all things engineering and analytical.

So when I came across this book, I knew that I had to share it with E.  Boy, did his eyes light up when he opened this one!

The author, Sean Kenney, is one of only 13 Lego Certified Professionals in the world. Sean has a studio in Brooklyn that has 1.8 million Lego pieces in it.  You can get a peek at his studio and his creations by visiting his Facebook page here, or in this Tumblr video.  Amazing stuff!  Work and play with Legos all day as a job? Let's face it ... it's the dream-come-true for so many of our kids! Maybe for you, too? :)

This is a marvelous book for setting up math challenges in your classroom. Just look at the previous paragraph! What do you imagine that a collection of 1.8 million Legos looks like? For younger kids, fill a clear jar with Legos, all of the same kind. Talk about strategies for estimating. Do some estimating together, then count and check.  Repeat with a smaller-sized piece, and then again with an even smaller piece. Lead your students to do some math talk and generalizing. Then  show them a jar filled with mixed pieces. Will it be harder or easier to make a prediction now? Why?

With older students: If each storage tub fit 350 Lego pieces, how many tubs would be needed to store 1.8 million pieces? How would the size of the pieces change your answer?

E and I had a great time looking through the book. Actually, after a few pages, his little wheels were turning and I suspect he forgot that I was even there!

The book is filled with ideas for household items and goofy faces, but also robots, buildings, animals, vehicles, and even sci-fi spacecraft. What to do first?!?!? There are also step-by-step visual directions for many of the models.

E counted out 35 pieces of his choice (three piles of ten and five ones, bless his little teacher's grandson heart!), and off he went! Less than 10 minutes later, here was his creation!

What a wonderful math/STEM center activity this would be!  Here are a few free task cards to get you started. Just put them in your math center with the book and a tub of bricks and you're good to go!

... and here's the terrific book that started it all!


If there are lots of Little Lego Geniuses in your class (or home!), here are more of Sean Kenney's books that they're sure to love!


I'm delighted to be linking up again this month with Miss Math Dork at the Math IS Real Life Linky. Stop on by to see more ideas that connect your real life {you know, down on the floor playing with Legos like Sean Kenney! :) }with your math-teaching life!

                 Miss Math Dork, The Teacher Studio,  Teaching to Inspire in 5th, & 4mula Fun

Happy Teaching!


  1. Genius! Love this! I'm going to grab your task cards and some Legos and see what happens. My class is obsessed with Legos...they talk about them all the time. But, guess what? I don't have any at home or in school. Time to change that. Really It makes perfect sense and your post gave me some ideas and the puh to get "with the program." Whe I was a librarian, I think it was DK who had a huge Lego book that was VERY popular. I had 5 in circulation at all times. THANKS!

  2. May as well capitalize on their interests, right, Lisa? :) I have a few more Lego math ideas coming ... stay tuned!
    Enjoy your long weekend!


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