A new product is being launched by Lego Education with the aim of helping children to learn maths.
Birchfield School in Shropshire is the first in the world to teach maths to five-year-olds using the programme, The Guardian reports.
The product, called MoreToMaths, launches worldwide later this month, after spending two years under development at Lego’s Billund headquarters in Denmark and in the US. It has been adapted for the purposes of teaching key stage one pupils in the national curriculum.
Rene Lydiksen, managing director of Lego Education Europe, hopes MoreToMaths will be used in a large number of schools. However, he insists the company is not solely concerned with commercial gain.
"We are very much aware that this will challenge the traditional way of teaching maths," he said.
"Teaching maths is, I’d say, typically done from the blackboard in the classroom towards the students, which might be a little bit old fashioned - at the risk of getting a lot of maths teachers on my neck."
The product's slogan is 'There's more to maths than facts'. Mr Lydiksen said it would help pupils to focus on the learning process.
Birchfield's headteacher, Hugh Myott, sees Lego as boosting his pupils' creativity and teamwork. He believes children require such alternatives to modern technology.
Lego Education already offers literacy, science and computing products. It is expanding into maths at a time when primary schools in England are having to adapt to the introduction of a more demanding national curriculum for the subject.
However, the price of the product could pose a problem for some institutions. MoreToMaths kits for a class of 30, which include lesson plans, software and teaching guides, will cost £750.
Andrew Chadwick, a maths subject leader at a primary school in Devon, expressed concerns that youngsters would spend too much time building models and not enough time practising key skills and thinking about maths.
However, Stuart Swann, a primary school teacher and consultant who helped adapt the MoreToMaths curriculum for England, believes pupils and teachers will quickly get used to the new programme.
Posted by Alan Douglas