Minecraft and Medieval Castles (with a pinch of Numeracy too)

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This video is an example of how you can use Minecraft on iPads/iPods to stimulate learners’ creativity and ask them questions about topics they are learning. Children could work collaboratively in small groups, like this example, and the teacher could join each group at different times to check progress and do some formative assessment. If the screencast is recorded using the Reflector app (as I have done here) the learners’ work and responses can be kept. I don’t know why, but the screen turned red when I edited the video in iMovie.

Adding some Numeracy to the pot

Activities like this one, where learners were asked to create a typical Medieval Castle, can be very creative and ideal role plays to stimulate learners creativity. In  fact, this group of young learners created the castle you can see in the video by reading some information about medieval castles and in particular about kitchens in medieval castles. But it is possible to use these opportunities within a History lesson to develop some numeracy skills too. In particular, the teacher could ask questions that engage learners in Numerical Reasoning and these can be used to prepare pupils for the new Numerical Reasoning tests coming to Wales in May 2014. Staying in role a problem like this could be asked to learners in the Minecraft chat:

“The Earl of the castle orders his chief cook to prepare a banquet for 70 guests for the next day. Each guest must have 1 boiled egg. The castle has only 50 chicken and each chicken makes 1 egg each day, but the chief cook can swap chickens at the market in exchange for eggs. She would get 5 eggs for each chicken. How many chickens does the cook need to swap at the market to get all the 70 eggs she will need the next day for the banquet?”

The Solution

So, what is the solution to the numerical reasoning problem above? Well, if the cook kept 45 chicken, she would get 45 eggs the next day and she would need 25 more eggs to make the total of 70 eggs she needs. She can get those 25 eggs by exchanging 5 chickens at 5 eggs each. 5 x 5 = 25 eggs, which is what she needs.

I hope you found this use of a game that is currently incredibly popular with young learners, especially boys, interesting. Let us know how you are using Minecraft and other games to develop literacy and numeracy across the curriculum.

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