Minecraft + Math = Amazing Learning Experience
This has been on of my FAVORITE math lessons all year!! And judging from my third graders responses, it was theirs too!! I shared the idea of having students create their own farm or zoo using what we have learned about area and perimeter from our math lessons using the Minecraft app. The excitement about this math challenge was MIND BLOWING!! They couldn't wait to see how we were going to do it!
In preparing for this lesson I knew that I did not have as much knowledge as my students about the Minecraft app, so I turned to one of the "experts" in my class. Together this student and I planned the farm/zoo challenge on perimeter and area. I had several questions about what would work within the app and he had the answers. He made suggestions and recommendations of what might work best and how we should set our game up from the start. I LOVED his willingness to take the lead and share with great confidence his Minecraft knowledge base! I must say it was the first time I experienced co-teaching with a student! I LOVED IT!!! As a result, the kids in class were focused and excited about the math challenge and loved that they could learn from their classmate! I took a video of him sharing the basics with his classmates.
As students were guided through the use of the app (with the assistance of my teaching partner for the lesson) it was evident that all my students had used Minecraft at some point and they were more than willing to share their expertise as well. I HIGHLY encourage teachers to take a short amount of time to set up the "game" with common settings. If you have students who are unfamiliar, then allow them to work alongside your experts. Kids love to teach others what they learn! I had clear cut expectations listed for the lesson over the basic for all students and setting the parameters and expectations right away. We all had to be in the same world. The settings for this particular subject were all set identical. Once those things were established the creating began!
Students were asked to create a farm or a zoo on graph paper creating pens for the animals they wanted to include. Each pen had to have an area and a perimeter sign. The student had to show their work and use the appropriate measurements. We discussed how the space provided for some animals would be best in feet while others would require yards. Each student was give the expectation of creating six or more pens for their animals with each one having a different area and perimeter than the others. They had to show their problem solving on their plans and then get their plans approved by another student before turning them into me for a final review. The kids liked helping one another and checking over their work was great review for each...needless to say we achieved a minimum of twelve math problems for the assignment.
Our next challenge was to turn our plans into their farm/zoo created in Minecraft! The kids couldn't wait to get started. I snapped some pictures to share their engagement levels.
Once their farms/zoos were created we took the opportunity to share them with our friends. Here are examples of how we built our farm/zoo on Minecraft: