Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Minecraft Perimeter and Area

Okay!  I'm late with this post!  I wrote it during state testing time, but forgot to post it!  Sorry!

You know what state test time means, right?  It means it's time to put away the calming chamomile and get out the strongest black tea you can find!  I was exhausted by lunchtime and I wasn't even TAKING the tests!  It also means the kiddos needed a fun afternoon activity to give their brains a break, but with the math section still to come, we couldn't sit around and do nothing.  So we practiced measuring perimeter and area Minecraft style.

The kids loved this, and I'm pretty sure I got cool points for knowing my Minecraft!  It all started last year when Aiden had a Minecraft-themed birthday party.  I thought it would be fun for the boys at the party to make minecraft masks, so I spent some time cutting 1 inch squares in various colors of construction paper and collecting 9 x 12 inch pieces of cardboard for the bases.  Turns out 9 year old boys do not want to sit and make masks at birthday parties.  They just want to run and tackle each other.  So I had all of these left over supplies sitting around for a year in my closet.  The week before testing, while looking for something else entirely, I stumbled across the supplies and decided this would go great with our unit on area and perimeter.  Plus, it was almost all put together already.

I did have a minor issue with the grid.  My first thought was to run the cardboard through the copy machine at school so the grid would be consistent 1 inch by 1 inch squares.  Well, after a giant fail that lead to a call to the repair guys, the office staff and I decided the kids would also be practicing their measuring skills by drawing their own grid!  I wasn't sure how this would work, but I partnered the kids up and had one student hold the ruler while the other student drew the lines and I was pleasantly surprised.  It worked.  They did a great job on their grids.

Then I put some Minecraft images up on the Promethean board and the kids grabbed handfuls of colored squares that I had sorted into bags and cups to keep the colors straight.  It's times like these that OCD comes in handy.  The kids arranged the colored squares into any Minecraft images they wanted - sure, some started over more than once - then they glued the squares down to their cardboard.  When they were finished they used multiplication to find the area of their creation and counted the sides to find the perimeter.  They put their answers on the back of their image.

Later, I took their information, checked it to see if it was right, and put their information onto a Minecraft background for display on our bulletin board.  Here's the link to the background I used.

I covered the bulletin board in black roll paper and used green bulletin board paper to make a scrunched up border.  If you haven't done this, it's easy and super cheap.  I can do a blog on that later if needed.

Then I downloaded a $2 Minecraft themed banner from Z is for Zebra on TeachersPayTeachers.   That was it!  The kids had fun AND practiced area and perimeter!  It was a perfect activity for the afternoon during state testing week.  And my kiddos are so proud when they hear other kids comment on how cool it is to see Minecraft in the halls.