minecraft edtech andrea jones K-12 3rd grade

Teaching 3rd Graders Minecraft

by Andrea Jones

Why Teaching 3rd Graders Minecraft ? As a teacher I am always looking for new ways to engage my students. Since most of my students are always talking and obsessing about Minecraft, it was an easy choice to go that route. Just the mention of Minecraft and my students eyes light up. As a teacher that is what I want. I want my students excited about the Math we are doing. I want their eyes lit up and chance to show them the Math that they are using in their everyday, but don’t realize it. Incorporating Minecraft gives me the opportunity to show them how Math is everywhere, even in their favorite game.
However what is crazy to think about is Minecraft is not just a third grade thing or an elementary thing- it is a gaming thing. It has transcended age levels. So it gives my students the opportunity to have Math conversations not just with their peers, but their siblings, parents, cousins, or anyone that plays. It also lets them see that Math is more than worksheets. The only downside to incorporating Minecraft is I am not a gamer- not even close. I have tried playing video games, but lose interest fast.  Not to mention, I lack the fundamental skills of being able to navigate in a game! I cannot get my little person to move and look all at the same time.
minecraft edtech txed edtechchris Andrea Jones Chris Miller teaching games math 3rd grade k-12 

Determined not to let my lack of knowledge or ability about Minecraft stop me, I started to devise a plan. I had seen the game and knew that conceptually it was very heavy in Geometry skills. The whole game is pixelated and in blocks. So I began trying of ways we already used blocks in the classroom. I was not trying to reinvent the wheel, just take what I was already doing and make it more engaging for students. For instance, we use blocks in lots of different ways like building arrays for multiplication, finding area, and perimeter. So I already knew the direction I was going to go, not to mention this was content that my students have struggled with all year. I have taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade Math and area and perimeter is always a stickler. This was when I got excited, because this might be the activity that really makes it click for my hard to reach learners. They are not confident in Math, but they are with Minecraft so they are already more open to receiving information because we are playing a game where they have stronger skills than others. It gives them an extra boost of confidence that worksheet or building blocks does not provide.
Next: In Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole, Mrs. Jones describes taking the plunge and the process of learning how to use Minecraft in class with students.
Watch Josue and Lorenzo’s Minecraft Project
About Admin

IT Director in Austin TX • Husband & Father • Apple and Linux aficionado • Passionate about connecting w/ & supporting educators to improve teaching and learning.

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