## SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

# Use Legos for Easy Math Practice

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Colorful Legos have been a favorite of young children for a long time. They’ve also been a great holiday gift. Here’s a simple way to combine a classic toy, new or old, to practice Common Core math skills over vacation.

This game is for two players.
Materials needed:

• Number cards 3 through 10 from a deck of playing cards, for a total of 8 cards (any mix of suites).
• For each player, 10 rectangular interlocking Legos in two different colors of their choosing (for a total of 20 Legos each).

To play:

• Shuffle the cards and place them face down.
• First player turns over the top card and says the number—for example, “seven.”
• Then that player interlocks some of their different colored Legos to show the number—for example, three red Legos and four yellow to make seven. The player says, “3 + 4 = 7.” An adult can help, if needed.
• The second player uses her Legos to show seven in a different way: five blue and two green, “5 + 2 = 7.” Then each player disconnects the Legos and puts them back in their pile.
• The second player turns over the next card that shows the numeral 4. She uses three blue and one green to equal four, and says the number sentence. The other player shows 4 by using two red and two yellow Legos and says their number sentence. The players disconnect and put Legos back in the correct color pile.
• The game continues until all cards have been turned over and two different combinations of the number have been made.
• If a round two is played, reshuffle the deck and place face down. When a new card is turned over, challenge players to make a different combination then they did in round one to represent the number shown.

This simple game helps children increase math fluency by understanding different combinations of 10. It also uses all modalities to cover how your child learns best. By seeing the number on the card, hearing the number spoken, and interlocking the Legos to show the number, your child will be learning through visual, auditory, and hands-on experience.