Thursday, February 9, 2017

Cool Minecraft STEM learning project

Learn some math and engineering while playing your favorite video game. This post is not officially sponsored by Minecraft.

"Mom, thank you!" My son threw his long arms around me.

Interfering in my children's plans for playing their favorite video games doesn't always go this well. Like most tech loving families we have really struggle with how to make technology a positive part of our family's routines.

Cool Minecraft STEM learning project

This simple STEM challenge is part of how we make screen time a positive experience in our family. I like that it makes their game time more educational, giving practice in counting, algebraic thinking, and 3-dimmensional analysis.  My kids say this method has made building in their favorite game even more fun.

Materials for Minecraft building engineering

  • graph paper
  • colored pencils or markers
  • access to the Minecraft game

Before you log on to Mine craft

Cool Minecraft STEM learning project

Before your child logs onto Minecraft, ask him to draw what he intends to build. Tell him that it needs to be drawn from the front, each side, and the top (as a bird would view it.) Use different colors to denote the different materials you plan to use.

This is actually pretty challenging. In order to complete the task you have to be sure that your roof is the same length as your walls. You can't plan to put in a window on the corner, but have a brick on the same corner when viewing from a different angle.

Especially at first, it's a good idea to draw in pencil. Making wall lengths match up can be trickier than you'd expect.

Cool Minecraft STEM learning project
The square on the right is the roof that matches the walls on the left. The blue line shows where the windows will be.

Completing the initial plan takes significant time, and initially it also caused a lot of frustration. That all changed the first time my child implemented his design.

Building your building in Minecraft

Once you verify that your child has developed a legitimate plan, encourage him to follow it.

Cool Minecraft STEM learning project
Outside of the house

Cool Minecraft STEM learning project
Inside the house. I think the torches are to keep bad things from spawning?

Once he became comfortable with the method, my son found that he could build more interesting and complicated structures when he planned ahead. In fact,he was so excited he gave me a hug and a "thank-you".

More Minecraft learning

Minecraft environmental engineering project

My kids love doing these builds, and I love the math practice!
Save this project for later.

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I can't wait to hear what you have to say! Thanks for sharing.