Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Building a LEGO-Cube Step Pyramid

We are loving all the suggestions in the Story of the World Activity Book. Besides having many great ideas for activities to do to enhance what you're learning about they often provide different suggestions on how you can accomplish a specific activity. The original activity suggestion for this project was a Sand-Cube Step Pyramid, complete with directions on how to make your own sand cubes. Because we had mummifying a chicken on our docket for the week, I decided making Sand-Cubes in order to build a pyramid was beyond us.
Their second recommendation was to use sugar cubes to build a pyramid. That is what some of our homeschool friends did and you can read about their efforts here .
We took the third option which was to use square LEGO blocks. Part of the reason this appealed to me was because it sounded like a great way to incorporate a math lesson. I had the girls locate the square LEGOs and then snap them together in groups of 5. On their own the girls added some patterning activities into the mix (although that's not so evident in the picture below because I didn't think to take a picture until after we had built the pyramids and most of our LEGO stacks had been used up). We needed 55 LEGOs to build our pyramid so we practiced counting by 5's to figure how many that meant we needed. The girls learned they needed 11 groups of 5 in order to build their pyramid. The first level required 25 LEGOs so they again counted by 5's to determine how many of their 11 stacks they would require. The second level required 16 LEGOs so that took a little more problem solving to figure out how to break our groups of 5 apart to get the desired result. The next level needed 9, then 4, and finally 1. I briefly pointed out that there were an equal number of squares on each side of each level and how multipication could be applied but that was clearly over their heads and of no interest so I dropped it. I figure it never hurts to introduce an idea or process if an opportunity presents itself. :)
 During our studies of "The Old Kingdom of Egypt" we learned that after the Pramids were built of enormous sand blocks (nearly 2 million each weighing as much as an elephant!) they were covered in white limestone and the topped in gold. As such, Reagan and I decided to try and create accurate exterior depictions of our pyramids. Kennedy decided she wanted a colorful pyramid (you can see some of her pattern work with the brown/blue level and the white/pink level - Reagan did the same sort of thing with the interior of her pyramid).
Reagan was only mildly interested in this activity but Kennedy loved it (she is more of my Math gal). After finishing the 3 Great Pyramids she decided she wanted to build the Nile River and Delta as well. Then she decided that the green LEGO base we were using wasn't right for the dessert so we got to work finding yellow LEGOs to cover the base. To complete our LEGO scene she found a Skeleton LEGO person she decided could be a Mummy and finally we did our best to create a crocodile. Kennedy did not approve of my intial efforts on creating a crocodile and informed me it looked like a duck. After her expert advice and assistance we managed to change our duck into a crocodile of her liking. :)

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