# Brainstorming with Minecraft…

Like many teachers right now, I am starting my Winter Break “To Do List.” One of the things at the top of my list is planning for our upcoming math unit.  Since we have recently received our iPads, I am constantly trying to find a way to use them as a learning tool in my classroom. I don’t want them to just be a “paper replacement” but instead a part of the learning process.  Our upcoming unit is Measuring Polygons which includes work with area and perimeter and as I read Fawn’s AMAZING Hotel Snap task the other day, I got inspired!

In case you haven’t seen it: http://fawnnguyen.com/2013/12/10/20131027.aspx

I love SO many things about this task: the collaboration, the challenge, the math, the Math Practice reflection, all materials to go along with it, accessibility for all students…and I could go on and on….it is awesome!

For my 5th graders, I am going to try to recreate this task using Minecraft, since the app is on their ipads and they are just dying to use it in class. I think it has such potential for some seriously amazing math and creations…not to mention the engagement factors of a competition and Minecraft…they will be in math heaven!

I am in the beginning planning stages, but to keep my thoughts organized (and get some feedback), I figured I would just start typing my initial thoughts and/or questions I am having…

1 – To start, our next Social Studies unit of study is Economics so I had the students price out the materials in Minecraft today.  It was great conversation of durability and availability. If a material was difficult to “find” or “craft” in the game, the higher the prices. Here is an example of a piece of the students’ work:

I plan on creating a spreadsheet in Numbers for them to keep track of their block usage during construction.

2 – I am thinking they will build a resort instead of a hotel because of the options to put in sidewalks, pools, petting zoos and such to increase revenue and include volume into the equation. Question: How do I factor in profit of having extra amenities? Does a bigger pool bring in more money? How in the world do I price a petting zoo (because they so want to put animals in there)?

3 – The rooms of the resort will still follow the window guidelines in Fawn’s original task, but the rooms will be 3-D so I am going to allow them to put beds in each room. That would change the pricing of the rooms not only by window, but by accommodations (single vs double vs king).  Question: Will the bed and window pricing be overwhelming and time consuming and take away from the challenge of finding most profit? Should I make it one or the other?

4 – Love the scoring, keeping that exactly the same.

5 – Question: Do I give them a block limit or spending budget? Is there an advantage of seeing who can make the most money with the same number of cubes vs who can make the most money with the same budget?

6 – I would like to incorporate area and perimeter relationships here so I am thinking it has to be a “gated” resort. Possibly: What would happen to you cost of gating if you doubled the area of your resort? or How could you arrange the resort to keep the area you would like but keep your gating cost the lowest?

I would first like to thank Fawn for the inspiration and amazing resources! I would love any and all thoughts additions/deletions on the task. I always have my cubes bagged and ready for use if this is a bust!

Thanks!

Kristin

# Math & Minecraft Day 1

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: