Teaching with Minecraft: A Minecraft Project in Action
by Andrea Jones
I decided to let students do this activity in partners. Even though Minecraft is super popular, I know that not all students are familiar with game. I had the students divide themselves up into two groups. The first being the self-proclaimed “experts” and the other group was for students who were not familiar with the game. I was lucky and this worked out for each of my four classes. I had enough experts to go around in each class. The interaction between the students was a lot of fun to watch. You had students that may have not been math experts, but were now the expert with their partner because we were playing their game. I saw a lot of students gain more confidence and become more active participants, because they felt so comfortable with Minecraft.
The next thing that I did was allow my experts to give tutorials to the entire class. You see, I know how to move around the game, but really that is about it. So, my experts showed the class all the must knows about navigation or little tricks. I used an app on my Macbook called “Reflector” to display from my iPad to my computer which was connected to a projector. This worked out really well. The reflector app connects through your wifi so if a student discovered something neat or wanted to share they just had to airplay from their app. So through the entire project students’ work would continuously be displayed. This was a fun aspect of the project, because they were not only able to help each other, but inspire each other as well.
Each set of part had a check off list and recording sheet for all of their information. Since they were finding the area of each room, they had to record the equation they used along with their answer. It also provided a section for them to check off whether or not they had posted the sign. This helped students stay focused on what their goals were for the project. With a project like this it is easy for students to get distracted. Honestly, having the task set ahead of time kept my students focused and allowed them to finish. I did not have to spend time redirecting them because they were playing.
This article is a continuation from Teaching with Minecraft: Confessions of a Third Grade Teacher, and Teaching with Minecraft: Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole. Andrea Jones is a 3rd grade teacher at Butterfield Elementary in Sanger ISD, Texas. She excels at using technology to engage her students in critical thinking. Check out the examples on her teacher web page.