Today, we are exploring fractions. My children love LEGO. They are always either working on building LEGO or enjoy playing with it, so we have it out most of the time. Fractions are an abstract mathematical concept, and even Julia at seven-and-a-half is still not grasping it entirely. Making abstract representations concrete is a cornerstone of Montessori education, and using toys as concrete hands-on illustrations always worked best since children can relate more to their toys rather than to an unfamiliar material, even if concrete in nature.
We started with really large pieces (from this set) in three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue, and I illustrated to Adrian how the whole can be made up of pieces/fractions. I am using a dry erase double-sided board (buy here), and these washable dry-erase markers.
1/2 has a special name – "a half" and 1/4 has a nick-name too – "a quarter."
Illustrating a fraction in a different color.
Adrian enjoys playing with Captain Jake's Pirate Ship LEGO DUPLO set (buy here), and today, Pirate Jake is cutting a half into two: ending up with two quarters: one for him and one for his parrot, while greedy ⚔️Captain Hook is keeping the entire half for himself. (We pretended that they are dividing a treasure chest, which I also illustrated as a square divided into four quarters to broaden the concept that not only a circle is fractionable.)
Through this invitation to play, Adrian learned hands-on that the fraction is a piece that is smaller than a whole and that a half has two quarters.
Capturing Adrian shooting a 💣canon in motion!
Taking fractions a step further …
Adrian is fascinated with firefighters and firetrucks. So we incorporated a burning "2/3" fraction and a firemen to the rescue!
See the LEGO CITY Fire Truck set here.
Using LEGO DUPLO (follow the red piece), I made simple fractions for Adrian (3.5 yrs). He is used to fractioning a circle (a pizza and distributing pieces to his animal friends/see post here), but fractioning a rectangle added a new twist to an activity.
These fractions I made for Julia (7.5 yrs) using LEGO Friends set. I was hoping to illustrate that fractions can be written using different numerators and denominators, while still representing the same numerical value.
For more on Fractions, see our original post "Fractions – Montessori Math" post here.
For more on LEGO, see here "LEGO Juniors Demolition Site Building Kit" post. Also see here a post "Julia's 7th Birthday Gifts: LEGO Friends" and here "Julia's Christmas Gift: LEGO Creator Expert Santa's Workshop" post.