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Let’s Practice Addition with the Help of LEGO Bricks

We really like to play and build with the little plastic bricks called LEGOs and…

…it is interesting to know that those bricks, apart from being valuable for inspiring creativity in children, can be used for nothing more and nothing less than…ADDITION!

Using these bricks is an excellent way to connect the youngest children’s playing to learning. With the help of LEGOs, we can add two or more digits through the calculation strategy of breaking up numbers in which, to solve an addition problem with various digits we must break them up into ones, tens, hundreds, etc.

Example of an Addition Word Problem

Oh, how our friend Pythagoras loves math! This morning, he solved 16 problems and, in the evening, he solved 21 more. Tell me how many problems he solved in total.

To solve this addition problem, let’s begin with the first number: 16, which can be broken down in the following way:


In the case of 21, it can be broken down this way:


Given that we already broke down our two numbers into tens and ones, we are now going to move on to the second step: adding!

To add our bricks properly, and by using the breaking up method, we first put together the tens that we have on one side, and then put together the ones on the other side:


As we can see, we have 3 tens together= 30 bricks +7 ones = 7 bricks. Once we group the tens together with the units, we will get the total quantity of bricks: 37. Therefore, the answer to our initial word problem is: Pythagoras solved 37 problems in total. 

Therefore, with the visual support of LEGO bricks, we can add two quantities in an easier and faster way.

Now solve these problems using any LEGO bricks that you have within reach:

  1. I am so scatterbrained! At the supermarket, I bought 37 chocolate bars and when I got home I saw that I had 11 chocolate bars in the kitchen cabinet. How many chocolate bars do I have in total?
  2. Today, 19 zebras were brought to the zoo because they are a major visitor attraction. Before, there were 12 zebras. How many zebras are there now?
  3. I love reading, especially when it comes to my favorite book. Today I read 55 pages, and yesterday I read 38. How many pages did I read during both days?

I hope that the LEGO bricks idea is helpful for you and that you can have fun with math on Smartick. See you soon!

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Content Creation Team.
A multidisciplinary and multicultural team made up of mathematicians, teachers, professors and other education professionals!
They strive to create the best math content possible.

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