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A week or two ago I was sent a mathlink cube activity set from Learning Resources. I am a big fan of the items that Learning Resources produce as they’re always quality items and ones that the children tend to use again and again.
We have had great fun playing with these mathlink cubes, and there are so many different uses for them that I wanted to share just five of the ways that we have used them so far.
Basic Sums – Mr D is at the stage where he is able to do some basic calculations. He finds it useful to use the cubes when he is doing these sums, so if the sum is 3 + 2, he will place three cubes on one side, two on another and this helps him make the sum up.
Exploring 3d Objects – the cubes fit together in a number of ways which means you can make different shaped 3d objects, rather than one length of cubes clicked together. Twinkl have some sheets aimed at year 3 onwards that demonstrate this idea. We have used them to create larger cubes, or steps. The principle is the same though and it’s a good way for the children to get an understanding of how things fit together.
Pattern Making – the cuves come in ten different colours so they are perfect for making patterns with. In the activity set we were sent there are some pattern cards already in which prompt you to complete them but it would also be pretty easy to make your own patterns up. Miss E in particular enjoyed doing these.
Demonstrating doubling – the mathslink cubes are great for demonstrating the ideas of doubling numbers. Mr D needs to see things to understand the mathematical ideas so by showing him five and then ten cubes, it helps him to understand one is twice as big as the other
Estimating and predicting – We have only touched on this a little bit but it is something I think we will do more of in the coming weeks and months. Using the cubes we initially started to estimate the number of cubes needed to measure the length of certain objects. As we did this a few times Mr D was getting better at being able to more accuratley estimate the number needed. For his birthday in October we have bought him a bucket balance. We will be using the cubes to estimate and predict how many are needed to match the weight of various objects. Again, twinkl has a great little worksheet for this.
We plan to follow the Maths! No problem curriculum with the children (I’ll be getting the first set of books next month so do pop back to see how we get on). The mathslink cubes will be one of the many manipulatives that we have to hand. I plan to get these fraction cubes, a Base 10 set and some Cuisenaire rods too to go with our bucket balance, wooden numbers and other manipulatives. We leave out the bits we have in a basket and I often find the children helping themselves to them as they work on their various games.