#peel21st Blog Hop: A Minecraft-ish Moment

This is our third blog hop this year where educators all post to their blog the same night at the same time. The theme for this blog hop: Share a digital learning moment in mathematics or with ties to mathematics and numeracy. Please check out the links below my post to hop on over to their blogs and read their stories. We would love to hear your comments too!

It was hard to choose one moment: from creating our data stories in Haiku Deck at Mount Royal, or capturing our understanding of numbers in Shadow Puppet to creating our own surveys in Kahoot there have been so many wonderful moments this year where the #peel21st and #engagemath worlds have collided.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 8.35.37 PMI think the experience that stands out to me the most was a learning activity at Hilldale P.S. where we were exploring perimeter and area. I had just started playing with Minecraft the weekend before. I was doing terrible (I guess you aren’t supposed to have cows randomly end up in your house). Eventually I booted the cows out and was so proud of myself I took a picture. When the wonderful Shannon Beach, Student Work Study Teacher, and myself were first chatting about a possible rich question we had toyed with the idea of designing a swimming pool. I had had enough of winter. As we got closer to the time, we realized perhaps Minecraft was a better idea. I could use my image from the weekend as a spark and clear an area of land that they could build on. We were going to take the risk of leaving it open ended and see where the kids would take it.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 8.35.22 PMThe minute the kids walked in and saw Minecraft they were engaged. They didn’t need to know the question or that they would not be touching Minecraft at all. Just a powerful image and a rich question could spark their interest. As I posed the question one of my friends tapped his fingers in excitement. I was trying to explain that our designs in Doceri would have to be  a bird’s eye view and he pipes up, you mean map view. We all left with new learning that day.

We used Doceri’s grid paper to help us with our building designs. Wow did we have some interesting creations with gardens, beaches, towers and unusual shapes.

There was definitely lots of learning to take away: don’t mix perimeter and area, a return to Doceri to explain how we can capture the process of our thinking, not just the end. But as we collected their final videos to our padlet page I realized how sometimes the simplest digital tools can have the most impact in enriching our mathematical explorations.

Check out the rest of our blog hop posts below:

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7 thoughts on “#peel21st Blog Hop: A Minecraft-ish Moment

  1. I love the Idea of using Doceri grid paper to plan and build the design. That is a great idea! I like the padlet collection of videos too! I like the fact that the students had a chance to be experts too, “you mean map view” . It sounds like a lot of learning went on that day.

    • Yes it did. On all fronts! It was one of those moments where the pieces just seemed to fit together. As you said we were able to get to that more meaningful integration, moving away from just Substituting or Augmenting.

  2. Love the combination of so many tools without taking away from the Math. Having the hook of Minecraft is great. I was amazed today at how knowledgeable my students are in Minecraft. The ability to teach each other was mindblowing. I wonder if any of those students went home and created their pool or a similar one in Minecraft?

  3. Hey Tina, how about that Minecraft and Math colliding elsewhere in Peel. Until my experience, I honestly did not see a value in Minecraft and education and still sometimes struggle seeing a connection. Its becoming more clear for this non-gamer type.

      • YES! Every year I say I’m going to use Minecraft and every year I shy away from it – but I really want to as they are so invested in it. I’ve let them use it for “fun” a few times and hearing them engage in such meaningful and passionate discussion is so powerful

  4. Phil you stole my comment. I was laughing because of how so many of our posts have included Mnecraft. I was sold on the game years ago but to be honest love it even more now. There is so many endless possibilities. In addition, most if not all kids are instantly enthralled with the lesson because you are using it.

    Tina, I also love the fact that you demonstrated to the students how you were a learner. You mentioned that you weren’t doing so well with the game but you kept going. I think that is an important skill to make sure we are always demonstrating to our students and other professionals. I know many teachers who are afraid to try something new because they don’t have enough information about how a piece of tech works. I think you just have to jump in their and learn with the students thanks for sharing.

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