May 8th, 2022
Here's my favorite Minecraft activities for students to make your class exciting
I love to bring my students' interests into math class. That might be their favorite music, sports, or video games. One video game that's been a huge sensation with my middle school students recently is Minecraft.
Minecraft is a sandbox game (meaning there are no specific objectives) that allows players to build and explore virtual worlds. Players can start alone or with friends. They use blocks to create structures, mine materials, craft items, breed animals, and fight monsters.
It's incredibly popular — between 2.8 and 3.6 million people play Minecraft every day.
Minecraft has swept the gaming world, with and it's no surprise that students love to play it. There are several great reasons to integrate Minecraft into math class:
It's relevant to students. Students relate to Minecraft and many of them are already playing it outside of the classroom, so this is a way for you as a teacher to meet your students where they're at.
It helps promote learning through playing. Kids don't just want to learn math by sitting down and doing worksheets or taking tests; they want to learn in fun ways that are also effective, which is what integrating Minecraft into your curriculum does.
It can help motivate reluctant learners or kids who generally aren't good at math. If there are particular kids in your class who don't like math and traditionally struggle with it, integrating games like Minecraft can be a way for these kids to learn while having fun and feeling positive about their experience learning the material.
Here's a few topics that I've seen Minecraft align well with:
Area and Volume: Students can make Minecraft “blueprints,” which show the dimensions of a structure. Students can compare the volumes of materials to estimate costs. They can also build geometric shapes on Minecraft and estimate their volumes or areas.
Ratios: The game comes naturally with ratios as students decide how much of each block to use in a building project or how much material is needed to craft a specific tool. They need to figure out what ratios of blocks is needed for a roof, house and other similar projects.
Probability: In Minecraft, students have to take into consideration all sorts of variables when they are thinking about their buildings. How deep do they want their moats? How high should their walls be? What will happen if they leave a gap in between the blocks that make up their walls, etc? Of course, having all these variables means there is plenty of room for estimating probabilities and making hypotheses in this game!
Minecraft: Education Edition is the version of Minecraft that's designed specifically for use in classrooms. It has all the fun components of regular Minecraft, but is enhanced with specific tools that allow you to easily set up a lesson or project for students.
You can download it (for Macs, Windows PCs, Chromebooks, and iPads) and try a free demo lesson to get an idea of how it works:
If you don't play video games regularly, don't worry. There's an 11-module Minecraft: Education Edition: Teacher Academy that will walk you through how to use Minecraft, and offer ways to use it in different subjects, like Math, Computer Science, and Chemistry.
For math specifically, there's a Minecraft Math Subject Kit aligned to the Common Core State Standards. It includes tons of lessons, including on topics like fractions, area/volume, and decimals.
When you've decided to start teaching with it, talk to your school's IT department . Your school may have licenses already through Microsoft 365 — and if they don't, they may be able to purchase it at a discount through volume licensing.
If that's not available, Minecraft: Education Edition is available to purchase directly for $5 - 12 / student / month, with a one year contract.
If you don't have access to Minecraft at your school and are still looking for ways to incorporate the game into your classroom, that's ok!
You can still engage with your students' love of Minecraft with these printable worksheets. These unofficial PDFs are inspired by the ideas and characters in Minecraft, but can be done with just paper and pencil.
As a quick reminder, of course, the following unofficial activities are NOT AN OFFICIAL MINECRAFT PRODUCT. NOT APPROVED BY OR ASSOCIATED WITH MOJANG.
In Surface Area and Volume of 3D Shape Nets, students practice surface area and volume by analyzing, coloring, and assembling a set of 3D shape nets into characters like Steve and the Creeper!
There's versions with different levels of difficulty:
#6 Sales This Week
Try this unofficial Minecraft project-based learning activity where students compute the surface area and volume of geometric nets, and then can color and assemble those nets into their very own version of the character Steve to take home!
This is an unofficial Minecraft project-based learning activity where students compute the surface area and volume of geometric nets from multiple rectangular prisms, and then can color and assemble those nets into their very own version of the creeper character to take home! For this project, students will be solving volume and surface area of prisms with fractions .
In Slope Sketches, you can have students calculate the geometry of a Minecraft-inspired sketch. Then students can create their own sketches and find the slopes there too.
Looking for a way to make slope engaging? Try this unofficial Minecraft-themed activity — where students make and engage with art as they practice classifying lines, and finding the slope by applying the slope formula to two coordinate points.
I love Google Sheets Pixel Art digital worksheets. I've made a set where students are able to unlock Minecraft-inspired scenes by solving problems correctly, getting instant feedback on their math topics. They're super fast to prep, extremely engaging, and free up time to make it easier for you to differentiate:
Engage your students with this gamified version of pixel art as they practice adding and subtracting integers! It's great as sub plan, review lesson, or independent practice!
7th Grade, 8th Grade
Make multiplication and division integer operations review and practice a blast with this self-checking digital pixel art activity. Includes 2 Google Sheets with 60 questions total to practice multiplying and dividing positive and negative integers. Each correct answer reveals part of Minecraft themed-images featuring Alex, Steve, and a zombie. Easy to assign virtual or in-person, and with Google Classroom.
7th Grade, 8th Grade
Engage your students with this gamified version of pixel art as they practice calculating mean, median, mode, range!
5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade
You can also save money with this bundle:
Looking to connect with your kids over their favorite video game? Want hands-on activities for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing integers that are no prep, self checking, and engaging?
7th Grade, 8th Grade
Integrating Minecraft into math class helps students gain creative problem solving skills as well as a more thorough understanding of mathematics. All this with one game! It doesn’t get better than that.
Definitely check out the lessons above, and consider signing up for my newsletter to get more helpful tips like this. (I'll send you 5 free PDF activities for you to try!).
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