LEARN
From Heidi's Blog
Help & Info
SHOP
LEARN

# A Math Center Idea: Lite Brite Math!

Happy Independence Day!!  I hope the summer months are treating you well!  Here are some fun, quick, little ideas on how you can use a Lite Brite in math, and even how you can make your own little poor man’s do-it-yourself Lite Brite!

Lite Brite Math
Now for some math center ideas using a Lite Brite!  I found this old Lite Brite at a neighbor’s garage sale for just one dollar.  And it STILL WORKS!  (At least for now!)  Of course, being a teacher AND a pack rat, I had to have it.  I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but I just knew I wanted it.  You know how it is!

Have children write equations on a paper and then push the Lite Brite pegs down into it to count! This works best if the paper is cut down to the right size.

So as I’ve been sorting and cleaning out all of my crap teaching supplies so that I can get ready to move into my *new* FIRST/SECOND grade classroom, I’ve been considering whether or not I really need each and every item, because my new room won’t have as much storage as I had before.  When I got to the Lite Brite, I must admit that I felt a little guilty about bringing it home with me.  What instructional purpose would it serve in first or second grade?

Have the kids write a number on a sticky note, and then push the correct number of pegs right through it into the Lite Brite! The sticky note itself is evidence of work completed if they also put their name on it.
This idea would also work for practicing shapes!

I immediately had thought of making letters with the pegs, but I knew that my firsties were supposed to be coming in either on grade level or ABOVE, because those are the students that get placed in the combination classes!  (YIPPEE!!!!  Can I get an “Amen, sister?”)  So they probably wouldn’t need to make letters with them, and making full words with those pegs might not produce much learning for the amount of time that it takes to make one single word- even if a whole word would fit on the screen.  So how about math?  Hmmm…. easy!

Counting with Lite Brite Pegs!
It suddenly occurred to me that the children would probably LOVE to count with those pegs!  And, anything that we can do with a pegboard or a tens frame we can do with a Lite Brite!  Below are just a few of the ideas that I came up with on the fly.

These Lite Brite pegs show three different ways to make six: three plus three, two plus four, and five plus one.
If you would like to keep some evidence that the work has been completed, just save the papers that the children used at their centers!
I thought using a math worksheet would be a fun way for the kids to count the numbers! This worksheet is from my Counting Creatures Workbook, available here!
You could even push the pegs right through the worksheet, which would leave holes, of course, but hopefully it would leave the RIGHT NUMBER of holes to count!
It was not too hard to figure out where to push down… I just pushed until the peg went through!
If you move the worksheet around, then you could do a full size worksheet this way!  The holes left behind by the pegs could be counted, too.

I was thinking that the children could take turns using the Lite Brite, or a child could use it to count in math as a reward.  Or it could be scheduled as a math center.  Another idea is to make a few extra do-it-yourself (DIY) Lite Brites!  I figured out a way to do this somewhat cheaply.  It’s not perfect, but I think it’s a pretty good work around!

These little weaving boards are 4.75 x 3.25 inches each.

I purchased these little plastic “Weaving Boards” at the Creation Station, Inc.’s exhibit booth at the CA Kindergarten Association PK1 Conference last year quite cheaply!  I don’t remember how much they cost me in person, but on their website, they sell them as set with some colored lacing yarn. You get 8 little lacing plates and the yarn pictured for just \$2.49.  These little weaving boards are 4.75 x 3.25 inches each.

It turns out that the Lite Brite pegs fit right inside those holes just perfectly- and they stay put pretty well if you put a piece of paper down first!

This is a DIY Lite Brite!

To make a DIY Lite Brite, all you need to do is put the little lacing plate on top of a little box or a margarine tub that is solid colored (not clear), and put a little flashlight or tea light inside of it.

I could not find a single margarine tub or small box that was not translucent, so the best I could do right now is put it in an empty packing tape roll!   But as you can see, it worked just fine!

The kids might have just as much fun with these even if you have no light in there at all, LOL!

Since each child needs only about 10-20 pegs to count with, then you may already have enough pegs if you have only one Lite Brite.  But I found that you can purchase extra Lite Brite pegs on Amazon as well. (Be careful that the pegs you order go with your particular type of Lite Brite.)  A brand new Lite Brite on Amazon is \$14.50.

Check out a fun clip of one of our DVD’s below, just in case you are not familiar.  Remember, our Singable Songs for Letters and Sounds DVD has been revised and updated to become the Animated Alphabet DVD with animation and new, young actors, both male and female!  (But the original version is still available, if you prefer to watch little old me!)

——————————————————————————————————–