Interlocking cubes are a versatile resource in the mathematics classroom. They can support concept development, working mathematically and help children form mental images of numbers. There are two articles to read, the first of which offers use of guidance on manipulatives generally and the second explains why we have selected these particular tasks.
In this article for teachers, Jenni Back offers research-based guidance about the use of manipulatives in the classroom.
In this article we outline how cubes can support children in working mathematically and draw attention to tasks which exemplify this.
Make a chair and table out of interlocking cubes, making sure that the chair fits under the table!
This activity is best done with a whole class or in a large group. Can you match the cards? What happens when you add pairs of the numbers together?
Take three differently coloured blocks - maybe red, yellow and blue. Make a tower using one of each colour. How many different towers can you make?
Use cubes to continue making the numbers from 7 to 20. Are they sticks, rectangles or squares?
Kimie and Sebastian were making sticks from interlocking cubes and lining them up. Can they make their lines the same length? Can they make any other lines?
Try to picture these buildings of cubes in your head. Can you make them to check whether you had imagined them correctly?
One block is needed to make an up-and-down staircase, with one step up and one step down. How many blocks would be needed to build an up-and-down staircase with 5 steps up and 5 steps down?
How many shapes can you build from three red and two green cubes? Can you use what you've found out to predict the number for four red and two green?
How can you arrange the 5 cubes so that you need the smallest number of Brush Loads of paint to cover them? Try with other numbers of cubes as well.
Imagine a pyramid which is built in square layers of small cubes. If we number the cubes from the top, starting with 1, can you picture which cubes are directly below this first cube?