Volume, Area, and Perimeter Lessons Inspired by Minecraft

Whenever you have an opportunity as a teacher to tie what your students are interested in to the lesson, it's a win-win situation. Minecraft has been the hook I use to teach volume, area, and perimeter. 

It all began when I watched my son play Minecraft. He was building and creating three-dimensional structures. I realized there is so much math and engineering happening in this game. No one wonder why boys and girls love it. It's like the next step up from Legos! While he played, my teacher brain switched on and I jotted down lesson ideas. I personally had fun identifying math concepts in the game. There were so many concepts, but I focused on volume, area, and perimeter.

As I created the activities at my computer, it dawned on me that I didn't want my students to log in to the actual Minecraft game in class. That would be a total distraction and I would be breaking my own rule of no electronics during class! So, all of these are paper activities. They require applying math concepts on paper, using rulers and grid paper, and folding cubes. This is truly a hands-on STEM activity. I witnessed my students trial ideas and make errors. I observed students solving problems together and collaborating. I heard students sharing background knowledge of the game itself and even game tips! I don't mind this kind of "talking" during class at all! I also noticed both girls and boys interested in their work and deep in thought.

Just a heads up if you are interested in this activity, your students will become obsessed with their work and your classroom might get a little messy from the paper, tape, and scissors. They might even request to do this activity again. If you are ok with all of this, then check out the activity here!

I definitely think that there is a lot of extension activities you can do. You can have your students write about what they learned, write math word problems, or create their own project ideas. Make sure to display all their work in some sort of student gallery and have them check out all their classmates' work. It's such a nice closing activity to do because students praise one another and it builds relationships.

Here are some actual student work examples from my school. They are amazing!