Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian
What a great way to start the week! Fantastic article in The Guardian showcasing Birchfield School in Shropshire, the first school ever to use our first dedicated maths resource, MoreToMaths.
Before we even started to develop MoreToMaths we talked to teachers about their challenges with maths and what sort of resource they were looking for to help them.
Problem solving was the area that came up time and time again. Word problems in particular were a big challenge where young children are typically unable to think about what needs to be done in the problem or hold an abstract idea in their mind for a sufficient period of time. Here is where the familiar LEGO brick can make a real difference.
As the article states, our goal is for pupils to experience that there is more to maths than facts.
MoreToMaths has been designed as a supplementary resource targeted at reinforcing the mathematical practices taken directly from the national curriculum. Its purpose is to expose children to mathematical problem solving for the first time. Judging by our first set of test schools, it seems to be working. We have seen a lot of children absolutely desperate to get to their next maths lesson!
As with all of the LEGO Education resources, MoreToMaths followed the curriculum development process and was created by teachers, for teachers and ultimately for pupils. Curriculum standards play a central role throughout the development process to ensure our final solutions make the biggest difference possible.
According to research by Carbonneau in 2013, manipulatives used for teaching maths need to be “just right” in perceptual richness in order to be most effective. If the manipulatives are too rich in detail, they will have a tendency to disrupt and disturb learning. Alternatively, if they have too little detail, they lose the motivational effect.
The LEGO bricks chosen for MoreToMaths enable students to create solutions for maths problem solving using simplistic models, with just the right amount of perceptual richness to inspire learning – whilst still clearly showing the maths in focus through real-world connections. Every brick in the set was chosen to support maths learning. From the colour selection, to the shapes, sizes and number of studs, each brick serves a purpose and lends itself to the solutions modelling and problem-solving process.
Of course, the MoreToMaths set doesn’t just consist of a box of LEGO bricks. You get a full curriculum pack that contains 48 one-hour lesson plans that teach the practices of mathematical problem solving as aligned to the national curriculum. The pack includes pupil worksheets with tasks that are progressive and differentiated, with an extension activity for those children that require an extra challenge. You also get teacher training videos and the MathsBuilder Interactive WhiteBoard Software with built-in assessment tools.
One set can be used across multiple classes, right across Key Stage 1 and with the renowned quality of the LEGO brick, it will be a resource used for many years. We have a number of different classroom solutions at different price points, so when you start to look at it like that, it looks great value for money!
Stuart Swann, a primary school teacher and one of our external curriculum developers featured in the article will be with us at BETT next week. If you want to talk to someone who knows everything there is to know about MoreToMaths come and visit us on stand E128.
We’d love to hear your thoughts!