Minecraft in Education: 5th Grade Volume Project (PBL)

In this project students took on the role of architects from an architecture firm. Their objective was to design a home for Mr. Python and his family. Mr. Python provided a few specifications for the design:

  • Home must have a footprint of 150 to 250 square meters (The footprint is the area of the home site, defined by the perimeter of the building plan.)
  • At least 3 bedrooms (One master bedroom, one for the daughter and one for the son)
  • Wants lot of natural sunlight coming into the home
  • Multi-story home (home that has multiple of floors)
  • Home must be a composite rectangular prism, made up of at least three or more of these rectangular prisms that are all different sizes (Composite rectangular prism: composed of two or more non-overlapping right rectangular prisms)
  • Would like to know the volume of each of the non-overlapping rectangular prisms and also the total volume of the home

Here is the video of Mr. Python asking students to design a home for his family.

Prior to the final project students watched the following intro video to volume that contains a quick review on perimeter and area, as well as a short activity where students find the volume of a rectangular prism using layers.

Ultimately students designed a home for Mr. Python with his specifications in mind. The images below are from Andrew in Ms. Godek’s class. He created a beautiful modern home that had a volume of 5254 blocks cubed. Please visit his blog post to see more images and how he found the volume of his home. 


4 thoughts on “Minecraft in Education: 5th Grade Volume Project (PBL)

  1. Great project David! I’m currently just beginning to experiment with MC in the form of a club. I’m curious if you’ve ever had students who resent the idea that we (teachers) put learning parametres on their favorite game thus eliminating the “free play” aspect that so many kids love. My club is currently running with G 2-3 and they have a lot of buy in to a building challenge with limited resources,; however, my previous cohort of 4-5th graders were really put off by being challenged to accomplish a specific task to then point that some stopped showing up. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    • Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog!
      No, I had no students who resented the idea because I explained to them before starting the project that we are using Minecraft AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL, and not for “free play”! I explained that we could easily use other tools (graph paper and pencil) instead of Minecraft. I warned them that if anyone had problems with my Minecraft rules or broke them, they would not be allowed to use Minecraft to create, but would have to use another tool. Hope that helps!

  2. I would love to do this project with my students, but where do they go to actually build their building. Did you purchase the game for all students? The free versions online require downloads and the software doesn’t seem safe for school computers…Let me know how I could give my class access to the game.
    Thank you!!

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