Maths Cubes are just the best thing ever!
Not only are they just so much fun to play with, you can build a tower, a robot, a tree – wherever your imagination takes you, but they are also an important tool for learning the basics of maths.
Dale’s Cone of Maths (often debunked but an important lesson for teachers, I think) shows that we retain most when we are active learning – saying and doing.
With Maths Cubes there is a whole world of active learning right from the start.
Ask the question: “What can you tell me about this?” and see what you get. My favourite answer was from a serious 4 year old who took my hand, sat me down, looked me in the eye and said “Miss White, I think you are too excited. Maybe you should take some time in the comfy corner to calm down.” Not as mathematical as I expected but a real show of empathy!
Asking an open ended question like “What can you tell me…” allows the child to really think about what they know and start to put together the language to explain that. Get them to teach you about the cube. It has 6 sides (faces), 12 edges, 8 corners (vertices). Ask them why it is a cube and not a cuboid (all sides are the same length). Have a discussion about whether it really is a cube if it has bits sticking out or hollows.
You may have a child that will only tell you it is hard not squidgy (great science - solid not liquid!), your child might tell you it is like Lego – ask them why? Maybe your child can’t tell you anything but can show you what to do or where the cube can go. It is all a way of them actively sharing what they know and it is all good!
Maths cubes are great for counting. Cardinal numbers (1, 2, 3, 4 etc) also tell us how many altogether. Ordinal numbers tell us in which position they are (1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.)
How many cubes have you got altogether?
- How many blue cubes are there?
How many more red cubes are there than blue ones?
- Put all the cubes in a straight line. Which colour is first, second, tenth?
Building and learning with Maths Cubes
Building with the cubes is not only great for those motor skills and hand/eye co-ordination, it is also great for problem solving.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears with Maths Cubes
Why not add a bit of drama into the storytelling and act out the fairytale using teddies and other toys (my son used Lego and Playmobile people to retell every story he could. My daughter, on the other hand, would use stones, twigs, egg cups, tomatoes – you get the idea!)
How many chairs were there in the story? Use the cubes to build a small one. How many more would you need for a medium chair? A large one? Can you make the large one twice as high as the small one? Does it use twice as many cubes? What other questions can we answer?
How many cubes are used to make the seats – what do you notice? 4, 9, 16 … these are all square numbers (and the seats are square!)
2₂ (2x2) = 4, 3₂ (3x3) = 9, 4₂ (4x4) = 16
How many would you need to make the next size up?
Colour tower with Maths Cubes
Make a tower of three different colour cubes. Which colour is on the top? In the middle? At the bottom? Using the same cubes, make another tower with a different colour at the top. How many different towers can you make? How do you know you have found all possible combinations?
Do the same activity with four colours. Encourage a method of record keeping. Is there a pattern? Will there be the same number of combinations as with three colours? You can be as simple or as advanced as you like with your questions – let your child guide you. Encourage them to ask What would happen if? questions.
Using Maths Cubes in Multiplication
by Allie White, educational consultant to BrightMinds
As a parent and former-teacher, Allie has a hands-on approach to home learning, believing that the best learning is done together in a relaxed environment. Coming from a make-do and mend background, she likes to create activities for her children that use things already in the home.
Our mission at BrightMinds is to foster “a brighter way to play” to inspire your child to be curious about the world around them & encourage creativity in a fun & relaxed way.
We curate a world-class range of educational toys, games, gifts & books which are good quality, safe and backed by our extraordinary customer service. Home Learning Toys are our speciality and a Home Learning Toy from BrightMinds is a wonderful gift for your special boy or girl. Backed by our 90 day guarantee we are the number one site for thoughtful toys for kids!