Why use these well-loved manipulatives to teach students to understand fractions? Using manipulatives to demonstrate mathematical concepts can be an extraordinarily effective teaching technique to develop students' understanding. Experienced teachers recognize that for manipulatives to work effectively, activities must engage students and activate their prior knowledge and intuition. Using LEGO bricks in the mathematics classroom not only fulfills these requirements for a good lesson with manipulatives, they can also teach a wide variety of mathematical concepts at a relatively low cost.
Heather T. Gould is a PhD candidate in mathematics education at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York. Her interests include mathematics language acquisition, mathematics manipulatives, and pedagogical preparation of college instructors.
Edited by M. Lynn Breyfogle, firstname.lastname@example.org, an associate professor in the mathematics department of Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, who prepares preservice teachers and provides professional development to grades K-12 mathematics teachers.