After many days of discovering my HUGE learning curve with Minecraft, I am finally starting to feel relatively comfortable in Creative mode…I can build a house without flooding it, planted a few trees and I no longer have random blocks floating in the sky around my world! My class has been staying with me during recess to teach me how to play and I am amazed at how fast and detail-oriented they are in their designs, such as putting lava rocks under the water blocks to form a hot tub and putting glass windows in their new greenhouses. I just kept thinking that I would love for them to use this same precision and perseverance in math class.

I must have Minecraft on the brain, because I as I was planning this weekend for the upcoming week (multiplying fractions w/arrays), all of the scenarios were about planting on an acre of land. For those who may not know, Minecraft is based in cubes that can be planted in the ground to show a square, perfect for our gardens. I came up with this scenario…

I honestly lost sleep last night anticipating student responses because I knew some students would look at it as fraction of a group of blocks in this scenario, when I wanted it to be fraction of a one whole. Ideally (whatever that really is) I students would build the garden, split the fourths and divide 3 of the fourths in half to result in 3/8 of the garden (being the whole) being melons. But as they got into groups today, hopped into each others worlds and went to work it was quite a variety of outcomes.

As I expected, many students did it as fraction of a group of however many squares were in their garden. Here is an example of this: http://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/sammy/14346123/?s=sXGl7c&ref=link

This one was interesting because they did a combination of staying with the garden as a whole and then in the end went to the number of blocks were planted with melons: http://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/steve-s-garden/14349675/?ref=link

This one was great because they brought back the fraction bar model we had been previously working with and had it next to their Minecraft garden. (Plus you have to Love their answer): http://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/garden/14361270/?s=tk0bLr&ref=link

Ignore my loud voice in the background on this one, but it is a very great build (and with a key): http://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/dylan/14361243/?s=Qt3Ws8&ref=link

When they completed their garden, I gave them a square and told them that it was one acre and I wanted them to represent the same scenario but on the open square. I immediately saw confusion in the students who had saw the garden as 16 blocks vs the students who saw it as one whole garden.

Here are a few example answers:

http://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/kurtis/14360404/?s=xWw8UW&ref=link

http://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/riley/14361043/?s=FbOohc&ref=link

This one has some interesting talking points (a little long). You can forward to minute 3:00 for the blank array: http://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/steve-s-garden-kyzei-and-aiyana/14360241/?s=hRV0CF&ref=link

*We also had some great conversations about deciding about the dimensions of the garden and the denominator being a factor of the dimension since we couldn’t split the blocks. For example, many students built a 5 x 5 and went to break it into fourths. They said, “four is not a factor of five so we can’t.”

Lots of sharing to do tomorrow and discussing strategies, notation and the whole in the problem….stayed tuned for Minecraft Day 2…

-Kristin