Lego Block Mathematics

Brick MathST. JOHNSBURY- There is a new form of math education that has been slowly gaining momentum throughout the United States. This new method of teaching is known as Block Mathematics, and it allows for students to have hands-on learning with traditional teachings of math, instead of simple visual learning from a blackboard or a projector screen.


Dr. Shirley Disseler, creator of Lego Brick Math, believes that Mathematics is one of the most important academic categories in the U.S. educational system. That being said, she also understands that it tends to be one of the most difficult topics for students to grasp. What makes math more difficult than other forms of education is the lack of resources and methods to teaching different learners the principles of mathematics. Some children are unable to learn math principles through the traditional form of written problem solving, and teacher to student lectures don't tend to make learning any easier. This is where Block Mathematics comes into play.

Janis Raye, Editorial chief of Brigantine Media, is one of the people who helped bring the Lego Block Mathematics curriculum to fruition. She, along with her husband, own a printed media company stationed in St. Johnsbury, and they helped Dr. Disseler print and sell her books and merchandise. "Brick Math is such a new way to look at math," says Raye, "it offers students a hands-on approach to learning addition, subtraction, fractions... and the best part is that there isn't just one way to get to the answer when students are building the models." After speaking with Dr. Disseler at length, Janis began to understand that Block Math allows for students to reach the correct answer in their own way, versus a form that has been pre-determined with only one correct method of use. "There are so many different kinds of learners, and traditional mathematics doesn't cater to hands-on learning... we've gotten comments from kids like that who say 'I finally understand math... because i can see it.' "

Dr. Disseler is very happy that she can help students with their learning, and offer a math alternative that reaches students who cannot learn math through writing or images. "The books start at the beginning of each math concept and build on the student's understanding... the Learning books give each student a convenient place to work with the teacher and include additional problems, activities, and an assessment for each chapter." The full volume of 12 textbooks help both students and teachers understand the principles of Brick Math, and have shown outstanding results of at least ten point increases in individual student math grades in school districts that have implemented this curriculum.

While teachers in the area have used similar methods to teach their students mathematics, Dr. Disseler hopes that school districts in the area will adopt this math curriculum. "The company who publishes the book series is stationed out of St. Johnsbury after all," says Raye, "and with such a positive success rate of students who were once struggling with mathematics, the Block Math curriculum should be utilized by any school district with students who need help understanding math. Dr. Disseler can't guarantee that it will solve the problem, but she does guarantee that it will help a lot."

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