# Mathematics activities using Lego bricks

3 November 2016
###### 10 hints to make the most of teaching and academic conferences
7 December 2016

Which of the outer combinations is most like the inner one? Which is the least?

I love Lego. And I love making up mathematics and statistics activities for people of all levels of attainment. So it makes sense that I would make up maths discussion activities using Lego.
Whenever I have posted my ideas on Twitter (hashtag @Rogonic) and Facebook (Statistics Learning Centre) they have proved popular. So I thought it would be good to put them in a less transient location – this blog.

Which of the models, A to H is most like the one in the middle?

You can ask any question you like. I suggest, “Which of the models, A to H is most like the model in the middle?”
Then listen to what your learners have to say. Feel free to vote here:

I would love to hear what comes of this discussion. Please put your ideas in the comments below. In a follow-up post, I will talk about some of the concepts that might have arisen in discussions. A follow-up activity for your students (or you) is to come up with a new model that is most like the one in the middle, but not exactly the same.

## Math/Maths Lego/Legos

Explanation of the placement of the letter ‘s’ with respect to Maths with Lego. The Danish company that makes Lego does not approve of the use of Legos as a word. The plural of one Lego brick is two Lego bricks. In New Zealand we talk about Lego as a collective noun, as in “I am going to play with my Lego” and “Pick up your Lego before I stand on it.” We also follow the UK tradition of talking about the subject of Maths, rather than Math. I am aware that my friends in the US would talk about Math with Legos, but I am not in the US so I reserve the right to talk about Maths with Lego. I am refraining from making any statement about the state of politics in the US at present… With difficulty.
Disclaimer
This website uses Lego (R) bricks to teach mathematical and statistical concepts. There is no official affiliation with the Lego(R) company. Lego is a registered trademark of the Lego company.

##### Dr Nic

1. Ben said g initially, because the colours are the same. Then he decided it is a because the blocks and the colours are all the same, just moved over. I think c because it is just flipped (although it would be more work to change it to match, I suppose)

• Dr Nic says:

Interesting. Thanks Ben and Mum. I keep changing my mind. Can Ben make up one that is like them but different?

2. […] Please comment on the article here: Learn and Teach Statistics and Operations Research […]

3. Rebecca says:

Room 1 at Whitney Street School in Blenheim loved this activity thank you. It generated a lot of discussion between others as we all realised we all had different opinions. It was great to hear some many different reasons as to why we think its the same. Our most popular comparisons were C, H and B! Great activity thanks!

• Dr Nic says:

Hi Room 1 at Whitney Street School.
I am so glad you had a good discussion. C, H and B are interesting choices. I think it makes a difference if you are thinking what you have to do to change the model to the one in the middle, or what things are important. Maybe you could make some more models that are like the one in the middle, but not quite the same.
Dr Nic

4. JohnG says:

Interesting! I chose to model three factors – color, shape and order. I chose (D) since color and order were preserved, and shape was (half the original?). I would love to analyze the results from these to see what other factors people chose, and if they weighted each factor the same or emphasized one more than others…

• Dr Nic says:

Hi JohnG,
I agree! I find it fascinating what people choose – and discuss it with various people. We are planning a follow-up post on the mathematics displayed, and discussion points. It also depends on how abstractly or concretely you look at it. I favour A, because you only have to move the top two blocks one stud to the right and you have transformed it to the middle one. But A is also one of the two without two lines of symmetry, which may make it less like the middle one.

• VanyaT says:

I chose D also as my most preferable of the options. Following J. Bertin; colour, shape, size and orientation are all planar dimensions in visual semiotics; and D seemed to preserve these best from a 2-D perspective, allowing the block width to account for the quantifiable scalar difference.
Thanks, Dr Nic, for an interesting thought experiment. 🙂