Last week I made reference to a math lesson that inspired a 40 minute conversation about skins in Minecraft.  It was a lesson that came at the end of our Measurement unit on volume and capacity.  I am not going to lie to you; I was running out of time, and I needed to cover the expectation about calculating the volume of a rectangular prism you know the one:

“determine, through investigation using stacked congruent rectangular layers of concrete materials, the relationship between the height, the area of the base, and the volume of a rectangular prism, and generalize to develop the formula (i.e., Volume = area of base x height)…”

~page 81 Ontario Curriculum 1-8 Mathematics

Sure, I could have walked across to the other side of the school to the math cupboard and looked for linking cube, or the equivalent manipulative.  But to be quite frank, I was pretty sure that I would have a bit of a hunt on my hands, and as I said before, not much time.  So I decided to explore this concept with my students in Minecraft instead.

Just outside of our ‘home base’ I created an island out of sand.  On that island I left a rectangular prism.  Before leading the girls to the island, I gave them the task  below, and discussed what they already knew about volume, capacity and finding the area of a two dimensional figure.  I recorded their thinking on the board for them to refer to.

1. Figure out the volume of the rectangular prism on the island.
2. Create a prism with the same volume, but different dimensions.
3. Create a ‘free style’ shape with the same volume.
4. Record your work in your Math notebook with drawing and numbers.