Today I found myself writing an email about why I recommend people buy Minecraft for PC/Mac. The reason I recommend it is that Minecraft is a game that can grow with a person. It’s easy enough for a small child but complicated enough that even an adult can continue learning with it. My six year old can build and play on it. She greets others on my multiplayer server with the few words she knows how to type and she makes a huge effort to read what others type back to her. My older children have been learning about mods and config files. They’ve learned about json commands and the…


Minecraft Math NonPlayer Characters
This year I have been experimenting with a new tool for my minecraft math class. The tool is called Beton Quest and it is a plugin for my server. Paired with a second plugin called Citizens it allows me to create NPCs (Non Player Characters) that my students can interact with. The Non Player Characters look like normal minecraft characters – like players, villagers, animals or monsters – but when a person clicks on a NPC a little text conversation begins. The player gets to see a number of multiple choice responses which he or she can click on or type the number of, and their responses direct the conversations.…

Minecraft Multiplication Practice
Are you looking for ways to convince your children to practice their multiplication facts? There are many places to get minecraft flashcards with random minecraft pictures and random multiplication facts, but I wanted a way in which to give my seven year old more practice with the multiplication that is integral to minecraft itself. I decided to work on just the multiples of four and six and I devised both some instructions for him to work through on the computer and a set of cards to play with at the kitchen table. Download the cards here: minecraftmemorymatchcards The Multiplication Practice Cards The sets are as follows: set for multiples of…

More fun, easy ways to do math with Minecraft
The other day on Minecraft my children and I were exploring how to build tunnels quicker. One way of doing this is to use the fill command. Often using fill or clone we can look at the two opposite corners of the rectangular prism we are planning on filling or cloning, and record the coordinates. In building a tunnel we can only look at the coordinates of what will be the entrance to the tunnel, and then we have to imagine how far back we want the tunnel to go and figure out which coordinate we need to change (x, y or z) to make the tunnel. In the…

Automatic Minecraft Castle
This post explains how to build a minecraft castle using the fill and clone commands. The first part is a very simple tutorial on the commands themselves, while the second part explains how to use the commands to build the castle. If you are familiar with the commands already skip to the second part of the post. Fill and Clone Basics Minecraft coordinates are written out as sets of three numbers. For example: 6 5 9. The middle coordinate (the y one) tells you how high the location is. A positive x coordinate tells you how far east you are from an arbitrary location of x = 0, and a…

Three Word Games For Kids and Parents to Play Together
We have a couple of word games we love here, that I thought I would share. Word Game #1. “… that, isn’t that…?” This game is played by someone pretending to not know the meanings of words. It might start with someone saying, “Pizzas, those are those things you use for climbing up high, isn’t it?” If the other person doesn’t quickly call out “ladders” then you add a few more hints. “You should have someone holding the bottom of the pizza while you climb, and its bad luck to walk under one.” If the other person does call out the right answer, then you quickly move onto another topic.…

Minecraft Math: power rails
One of the thing that confuses me is the abundance of worksheets available online that offer “minecraft math” but are focused on adding a few minecraft pictures to normal addition or multiplication questions. It seems so strange, to think that pictures alone of the wonderful mathematical place like minecraft would somehow make the math special. Why not encourage the kids to explore the math within minecraft itself? And so I continue my minecraft math series, this time with a printable pdf worksheet you can download! Today my topic is minecraft railways. There are two main types of tracks. One of them is the basic track made from six iron ingots…

homeschooling three children – and another math activity
Homeschooling multiple ages of children at the same time poses certain challenges. Do you get curriculums so each child is working through at a different level appropriate to his or her age but independent of his or her siblings? Do you create your own curriculum to teach all three children at the same time? Do you hold the oldest back slightly or push the younger ones forward slightly to get them all working together? Or do you, like I do, use some curriculum seperately for some subjects, and then other resources to teach subjects together? Today I found an activity to work with all three. My inspiration was the Right…

More Minecraft Math: sugarcane farms
Today for math the boys built minecraft sugar farms. My five year old built one first, a basic strip of three water squares with sugarcane on each side. Afterwards I asked him some questions about the sugarcane. How many sugarcane pieces could he harvest? (It would depend, he pointed out, how long he waited. He could get six if he cut it once it grew two two squares tall, or twelve if he waited until it grew to full height.) What is the ratio of water to sugarcane? What fraction of the blocks used is growing sugarcane? What if we put sugarcane at the end of the water strip as…

Minecraft math
Minecraft is an easy place for math practice. Kids see counting by 3s (when making paper), 4s (making planks), and 6s (when making slabs). They divide stacks of up to 64 items in two regularily. There is plenty of math. Can Minecraft be used for exploring exponents and negative exponents? My eight year old and I wanted to look at that. I proposed that the relationship between wood logs and sticks is 4² because one log makes four planks and one plank makes four sticks, but my son corrected me. It takes two planks together to make four sticks. So then we have 8 sticks instead of 16. Positive Exponents…