In this article we are going to explore a lesson involving the creation of a student product using Minecraft to demonstrate a growing linear pattern. This lesson is applicable to junior and intermediate grades here in Ontario but we will focus on specific expectations from grade 8. Not only are we covering the expectations below, we will touch upon the 6 C’s, inquiry and developing a student’s spatial awareness as they have to plan their 3D canvas. Also, this provides a perfect opportunity for assessment as outlined in Growing Success (observation, conversation and student product).
- determine a term, given its term number, in a linear pattern that is represented by a graph or an algebraic equation;
- make connections between solving equations and determining the term number in a pattern, using the general term (e.g., for the pattern with the general term 2 n + 1, solving the equation 2 n + 1 = 17 tells you the term number when the term is 17);
- solve and verify linear equations involving a one-variable term and having solutions that are integers, by using inspection, guess and check, and a “balance” model (Sample problem:What is the value of the variable in the equation 30x – 5 = 10?).
The 6 C’s include:
- Character education— honesty, self-regulation and responsibility,
perseverance, empathy for contributing to the safety and benefit of others,
self-confidence, personal health and well-being, career and life skills.
- Citizenship — global knowledge, sensitivity to and respect for other cultures,
active involvement in addressing issues of human and environmental
- Communication — communicate effectively orally, in writing and with
a variety of digital tools; listening skills.
- Critical thinking and problem solving — think critically to design and manage
projects, solve problems, make effective decisions using a variety of digital
tools and resources.
- Collaboration — work in teams, learn from and contribute to the learning of
others, social networking skills, empathy in working with diverse others.
- Creativity and imagination — economic and social entrepreneurialism,
considering and pursuing novel ideas, and leadership for action.
The overall purpose of these six Cs and their underlying DNA is the well-being of
the whole student, and the well-being of society, which essentially consists of
higher levels of student achievement and the capacity to apply what one knows
The video below is an example of a student product that challenged the user to determine the algebraic equation.
As students progress through this task, you will notice the collaborate inquiry begin.
Collaborative inquiry holds potential for deep and significant change in education. Bringing educators together in inquiry sustains attention to goals over time, fosters teachers’ learning and practice development, and results in gains for students.
There is some room for scaffolding and natural differential instruction with this lesson. This task could be extended to include a Minecraft world that asks users to predict the term value in a specific figure number. Other options could be to create a scavenger hunt where figure numbers are hidden and a user must solve clues to find each figure, place them in appropriate order and solve the algebraic equation. Even more options exist using Red Stone (only certain doors open, etc.). Perhaps students could create patterns that are not linear (or shrinking).
What makes this lesson so unique is the cross-curricular piece from the grade 7 Science curriculum:
UNDERSTANDING STRUCTURES AND MECHANISMS FORM AND FUNCTION
- design and construct a variety of structures, and investigate the relationship between the design and function of these structures and the forces that act on them;
- demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between structural forms and the forces that act on and within them.
- classify structures as solid structures (e.g., dams), frame structures (e.g., goal posts), or shell structures (e.g., airplane wings);
- identify and describe factors that can cause a structure to fail (e.g., bad design, faulty construction, foundation failure, extraordinary loads);
- describe the role of symmetry in structures (e.g., aesthetic appeal, structural stability).