Minecraft Math: The Building Blocks of Fractions

Is your school hooked on the Minecraft craze? You don’t have to be a Minecraft

expert to use your students’ love of this block-filled world to build their learning of math concepts. Here are some easy ways to work with fractions in Minecraft.

Working alone or in small groups, have students enter Creative Mode. There they can pick blocks of a few different colors to build simple structures. Ask them to build structures that represent different fractions, such as a building that’s ½ blue or 1/3 white.  Students can then share and compare the models they’ve made.

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For students who need more guidance, you can have them build very specific structures, such as a tower four blocks high that is ¾ red and ¼ yellow. If you’ve got expert builders in your class, give kids the challenge of incorporating different fractions into more creative building, such as a tower where 2/3 of the floors have windows and 1/9 has doors. Or they can build a town that is ½ houses, ¼ parks, 1/8 shops, and 1/8 public buildings. Substitute in these examples any fractions you’re currently working on.

Granted, not every kid is a builder. Some kids want to get in there and destroy. That works, too! Have kids build structures of a certain size, such as a building that’s ten blocks wide by ten blocks tall. Then have them punch holes to show a fraction missing, such as a hole that’s 1/5 the size of the structure. This is a great way to work with percentages, too. For instance, take away 25% of the structure.

If printing is available, have students take screenshots of their models and print them out. Put the screenshots together and discuss the different strategies the students had for their fraction models. Can other students easily identify the fractions shown? Are there any particularly creative ways of showing fractions? Encourage your students to take this learning into their Minecraft play at home.