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Minecraft maths


Can Minecraft really help with Maths?

Could it be that the dreams of thousands of children, and indeed adults, are really coming true?

Is Minecraft really considered to be educational?

Well according to recent discussions held on well known parenting websites and teaching forums the answer to that question could well be 'Yes'!

The computer based game, which involves children creating and managing virtual worlds using blocks, has seen an unprecedented rise in popularity and some smart teachers have cottoned on to this fact, using it to their advantage. One such school, based in Wiltshire, has used the idea to engage children in a homework activity with some incredible results. The class, whose topic was Ancient Egypt, were tasked with the challenge of creating an Egyptian settlement complete with pyramids (square and triangular based), statues (with size and scale taken into consideration) and a myriad of dwellings, each needing careful consideration based on occupancy and requirement. This initial step of setting up the 'world' produced some fascinating outcomes. The teacher reported incredible levels of interest with pupils linking up with each other to share ideas and offer advice and tips. Parents also shared their amazement at having to actually tell their children to stop doing their homework as they had spent so long on it. This of course was met with pleading from their children to be able to continue!

The children not only had to create the world, they then had to manage it, ensuring the occupants were well fed, safe and self sufficient. The game has long been recognised for its mathematical base and is now being used to develop certain skills such as understanding ratio, size and shape, angles and recognising numbers. But perhaps one of the most outstanding features of Minecraft, which really sets it apart from other interactive games, is the need for users to manage their world, using complex problem solving skills which require careful thought on different levels. Each action has a consequence and each consequence can affect other parts of the world. Deciding on which food types to grow will affect the health and well being of inhabitants. Introducing certain creatures could affect the food chain and diversity of the world. It is this level of management and interaction which is exciting children and adults alike.

Minecraft is an evolving game which develops with the user. This principle which encourages children to apply mathematical skills and knowledge to 'real life' situations underpins the new national curriculum, and as long as children are engaged and learning we can only be encouraged by the results!

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