Four days ago I wrote a post for Fractus Learning about using Minecraft in the classroom. My post, for those who haven’t seen it, is about making sure your Minecraft lesson runs as smoothly as possible. I wanted to go into a little bit more detail about the task itself.
I needed to create a rich task as a post-test for our unit on area, perimeter and volume. As this was my first time using Minecraft in my class, I did not want to make it overly complicated. I was also aware, though, that some of my students were very experienced using Minecraft and would be bored if I made the task too simple (you can see one of my student’s amazing worlds at our class blog).
What I did was create a task sheet that allowed the students to choose a task that matched their Minecraft ability. The maths level was the same for everyone (with each task getting progressively harder). Students had to choose at least one perimeter, one area and one volume activity and complete them in the two hours that had been allocated for the task. An example of a task is to create a structure with a perimeter of 50 metres.
Once they had started the engagement level of my students was amazing. They are not generally confident with Maths, and do not try maths tasks for very long because they assume they cannot do it. It was the complete opposite with this task. Occasionally a student would become distracted fixing buildings they had already created, but they soon got back on task.
It was such a success that they finished early, and I gave them some open ended maths problems to really challenge their thinking. My favourite was ‘Create a building that has a bigger area than you would expect’. I will definitely be looking to include Minecraft in future lessons. The students’ enthusiasm for their learning while using it demands it.
Have you used Minecraft in a lesson? How have you used it? How have the students received it?