Use bricks to make a LEGO® number line! These number line activities will feel more like play than learning, which is always a win for math time.
Using a number line is so helpful in cementing math concepts for young children. Seeing what is happening on the number line when adding and subtracting is so helpful. Well, and a number line is also helpful for teens when they start working with negative numbers!
For our LEGO® number line, we used four 16 x 16 plates. You can accomplish the same length with 2 regular sized base plates (32 x 32), which you may be more likely to have on hand.
We have purchased several of the 16 x 16 plates on Brick Link, and they are very useful!
We used twenty 2 x 2 bricks to make the numbers 1-20. For the numbers, we used number tiles from our Story Bricks set that we got from Creative QT. It will take two sets to have this many numbers. The Story Bricks tiles are so cool and so useful! We have the magnetic baseplate to go with them, and we use it to post our daily routine on our refrigerator.
The kids also love building silly messages with the Story Bricks!
If you don’t have the Story Bricks tiles and don’t want to order them, you can easily make a number line with post-it notes or index cards.
The post-it notes won’t stick securely, but it definitely works.
Another option is to write the numbers on the sides of the bricks using a wipe-off marker.
To use your number line, grab a few LEGO minifigures. They can “walk” back and forth on the number line!
NUMBER LINE TOWERS
One simple way to get started is to build some number line towers. Place the correct number of bricks next to each number.
NUMBER LINE ADDITION
We started our LEGO® number line activities with some addition. I make some quick addition fact cards with index cards and markers.
Kids easily understand addition as combining groups of objects. A number line helps them to understand that addition is also counting on.
Using a number line really helps kids who struggle with the concept of counting on. Some of my kids did not do this skill very naturally! One of mine in particular really wanted to add 5 + 3 by counting from 1-5 and then counting 3 more. I would explain that it was unnecessary to count from 1 to 5, but he didn’t get it!
With a number line, it’s much easier. Start at the first number, and then count on the needed amount.
NUMBER LINE SUBTRACTION
Subtraction problems are where the number line really shines! We usually teach subtraction as “taking away” objects, and then progress to the number line. It’s generally harder for kids to subtract in their heads, and the number line is a big help.
(Side note… you can (and should!) also teach subtraction as finding the difference. We have a fun Find the Difference Game here.)
Need more LEGO math ideas?
Kids will enjoy this First Grade LEGO Math Printable Pack!
These LEGO Math Challenge Cards are also awesome. Designed for grades 1-2.