Introduction:We in Learning Community 3 have been busy implementing the use of Minecraft into our daily activities. But before delving into it blindly we asked the students to have a free session to explore on the condition that they contribute responses to the following questions via a post on Google Classroom:
Their answers, in terms of the potential for learning, absolutely blew us away. The suggestions covered an array of subjects and could easily help student contributions towards a number of Vic Curriculum achievement standards. They included - maths, literacy, environmental science, geology, 2D & 3D shapes and more:
Taking the suggestions above into account we realised what a great platform Minecraft was to draw an immeasurable number of lessons from. Whilst we teachers may be far from proficient at using the app our students, being the video game generation, have taken to it like fish to water. The lessons below were created based on some of the students comments and have been tried and tested in our grades this week with some pleasing results:
Minecraft: Perimeter, Area & Volume
After reviewing the concepts of Perimeter, Area & Volume students were asked to create 5 buildings in their own Minecraft world using the dimensions below:
A - L: 6 W:9 H:3
B - L: 2 W:7 H:1
C - L: 10 W:13 H:8
D - L: 19 W:5 H:4
E - L: 20 W:18 H:17
Once created - screenshots of these buildings were taken and submitted via Google Classroom as evidence of their learning. This activity sparked some interesting discussions around the concept of units in measurement, with the students ultimately deciding on using 1m = 1 Minecraft block to work with.
To extend some students we worked backwards - giving them the final volume measurement (m3) and asked them to create buildings of their own dimensions (l/w/h) to match.
Data Collection, Graphing & Probability (ratios)
After reviewing how data is collected, tallied and then graphed students were asked to spend a session ‘fishing’ using Minecraft. Four types of fish exist in the Minecraft world including: Tropical, Salmon, Puffer & Cod. Students collated the data into a table and then later into a seperate graph. What made this activity even more meaningful was that the data was ‘authentic’ - collected by themselves using Minecraft.
As an extension students then presented the data from their tables as -
As another extension students used the calculation from Extension Task 1 to write probability statements for each species of fish collected during the session.
The data could also be used as a springboard for teaching money. One possible way could be a ‘race’ as follows:
Step 1: As a group discuss the concept of ‘value’ - in this case the value of the fish being caught in Minecraft.
Step 2: Assign a dollar amount to each variety of fish based on the discussion in Step 1.
Step 3: Students break into ‘fishing’ teams and spend a session using Minecraft to collect data.
Step 4: Teams then tally their results before working out the total cost of their haul.
Step 5: Team with most expensive catch & accurate calculations wins.
The activities above are just the tip of the iceberg for us, but show how quickly and easily rich lessons can be created using Minecraft as a platform for learning and a little imagination. The best part is - the kids are in charge of their learning and very engaged by the program so you can act either as a facilitator to their learning or delve in deeper if they have any misconceptions.
Learning Community 3 - Lalor Primary School
Dwain Barakat, Enis Tuncer, Nicole Morihovitis & Deniz Tuncer