Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Minecraft Algebra Follow Up.


Today was the lesson where I tied the learning that happened in the Minecraft Algebra play sessions, and by this I mean using the information that students found, telling them about the skills they were using while in the game to explain what algebra is, and how we use it.

I did not mention the world algebra at all, but once I had put the following on the board, someone gave it away :D

L = Logs
P = Planks
S = Sticks

1L = 4P
2P = 4S
1L = ?S

The comment from the student "Is this algebra?" My response, "No, *sheepish look* don't you think I would tell you if I was teaching you algebra?" Despite my best poker face, I knew the game was up, it was not long before all the students realised we were doing algebra. Now, what I find very interesting is, that normally when you mention the 'unmentionable' word algebra, students switch off. Today, however, the students were quite happily discussing their thoughts as to working out the problems I wanted them to solve.

They were arguing with each other over how to do it, which was the best way and what the correct answer was. So today I managed to talk about algebra in a way that the students were willing to listen, engage and explore. I call that a win.

We covered the fact that letters are just substitutes of numbers, that some letters can be made up of other letters, so we can translate planks into sticks, or logs, but not cobblestone as there is no connecting rule. This also allowed me to introduce the simplification of algebraic equations, I did pull out the old 'apples and oranges' for this as well, but tied it back to the cobblestone and wood from Minecraft.

I gave the students a task for homework, based on their understanding of what we found out in Minecraft, and also what we discussed today. It will be interesting to see how many students take the time to do their homework, when it is not 'in' Minecraft, but is about Minecraft.

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment below.

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