Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Area & Perimeter Connection: Part I

It's that dreaded time of year when state testing is looming right around the corner, and everyone is starting to feel the pressure of what's fast approaching.  Teachers, myself included, are pulling out all of the stops to review, refresh, and ensure that our students are prepared for the test and have all of the skills they need in order to do the best that they can.

Over the past couple of weeks, we've really been focusing on measurement and geometry.  It's our planned unit of study, but we are also aware of the fact that measurement and geometry tends to make quite an appearance on the MAP test (which is our state test).

We've been learning standard measurement, metrics, area, perimeter, angles, lines, and 2D shape characteristics.  I figured there wasn't a better way to apply the learning that's been taking place in our math class than in Minecraft.  The whole game is focused on building with square blocks.  It would give me the chance to review the students' understanding, and it would allow the students a chance to apply their learning to a real world situation.

By why just build in the game?  Why not take it one step further and do a cross connection between putting ideas on paper, going through a process, and then applying the plans and ideas to the game.  So, we discussed architecture, the architectural process, and how one day they may ALL get the chance to build a house they want to build.  We spent some time looking at blueprints and learning some of the ways plans are drawn, such as showing doors, windows, stairs, etc.

I gave the kids their assignment and list of "requirements" for their plans:

Draw a building plan of THEIR choice
The plan MUST contain the following:

  • Measurements of all walls of the building in either standard units or metric units
  • Total area and perimeter
  • Area and perimeter of each room
  • A conversion key (their units of measurement per square block in Minecraft)
  • Scale ratio
And then, the kids were OFF....

A lot of math going on to figure out area and perimeter

Committed attention to detail

Color coding helps this student keep track of what she has and what she needs

Deciding on what else he could add

A great plan in the making

Early in the plan phase, but the architectural elements are already taking shape

Looks busy, but that's a lot of planning, and expression of math on paper

Once the plans were finished, it was time to get the part they'd ALL been waiting for.  Turning the plans into actual buildings.  That would have to take place in the game.

That's where Area & Perimeter Part II comes in to play.  Stay tuned!!

Ms. Hill


  1. Great assignment! Would love to see some of the finished products. Our G4 just used Minecraft to show what their perfect learning environment would look like This was my daughters (she's in G4

    BTW - did you know that one block in Minecraft is a cubic meter?

    1. Hi Phillip!! I plan on showing some of the finished products, so definitely keep checking back. Thanks for sharing your daughter's learning environment. My students are always excited to see what other kids are doing with Minecraft. And, no.. I did NOT know that. That will change a few things. :)