Well, if you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that we love to use LEGO® bricks for all kinds of hands-on math activities. I mean, why buy more manipulatives when you can just use what kids love anyway? Here’s a great way to really drive home the concept of place value in a fun and hands-on way. Kids will draw a two-digit number from a bowl or basket and then build that number in LEGO® bricks by showing the tens and ones.
This post is just one in our collection of LEGO® Math Activities! Here are others that you may enjoy:
LEGO® Math Challenge Cards – Perfect for first and second grade. These cards cover the concepts of addition, subtraction, grouping, fractions, and more.
Probability and Graphing with LEGO® Bricks – Introduce elementary students to the concept of probability!
LEGO® First Grade Math Printable Pack – Number bonds, missing addend, and measurement activities.
Teaching the Concept of Place Value
What we want kids to understand is that when they write the “2” in 24, it doesn’t mean 2. It actually means 20! Helping them develop a firm grasp on this concept in the early grades means that they will have much better number sense later on. Understanding place value will help kids with mental math and with analyzing their answer to see if it’s plausible. They will be better at spotting mistakes because they will have some idea of what the answer should be, approximately, before working the problem.
How to Use the Place Value Mats
To set up the activity, print the mats and then either laminate them or slide them into page protectors so that kids can use them more than once. My kids always love it when we get out the dry erase markers! (I keep them hidden because they have ruined WAY too many!)
Write a range of two-digit numbers on little squares of paper. Then fold them up and place them in a bowl or basket.
Kids can draw a number and then write it at the top of their mat.
Then they will build the correct number of tens and ones to represent that number.
There are two versions of the mats in the file. The first mat is the one shown above. The second version has a wider space for the tens and a narrower space for the ones. This will allow kids to build larger numbers. However, keep in mind that 74, 76, etc. is a LOT of bricks! In my opinion, the sweet spot is numbers in the 20’s through the 40’s. This is large enough to teach the concept, but also a reasonable number of bricks. (Well, it may still sound like a lot. We do have a TON of bricks, ha ha!)
Ready to print your LEGO® Place Value Mats? These mats are free to print for email subscribers. Don’t worry if you have already subscribed. You can go ahead and enter your name again to print the mats, and you WON’T be added twice.