Exploring Maths with Minecraft

Students at Holy Cross Catholic Primary School Woollahra have been using Minecraft to get better at Maths.

The school has enlisted the G.A.T.E.WAYS program to challenge their gifted and talented students in creative ways, including using the popular video game to help years 5 and 6 students learn ratios, area and perimeters.

A world-building game, Minecraft invites users to create their own world using virtual bricks. Year 6 student Tom Gloster said that while students weren’t playing the game during class time, thinking about the Maths in context made it easier to understand.

Students’ feedback from being involved in the program is very positive

– Louise Minogue

“We’ve been given equations on the board that will help us calculate how far things need to be or how many blocks we need to use if we’re making a pool or a fence,” he said.

“Those things are good to know when you play Minecraft, because it’s better to use area than just putting things in random places.”

Younger students haven’t been left out – talented writers from years 1 and 2 were invited to be part of a special poetry program where they were encouraged to let their imaginations run free.

After reading sample poems and creating lists of relevant words in homemade rhyme dictionaries, students were invited to re-write a verse of their choice.

“If we can make really different, the teacher wants us to do that,” said Year 1 student Isaac Kenny.

“I like how we can be creative, throw all our ideas onto the page and make a story, someone doesn’t have to tell us what sort of things we have to write,” added Leila Jones, Year 2.

Holy Cross has been hosting G.A.T.E.WAYS programs since 2017, with Term 3 sessions spread across August and September.

Students were joined at every session by children from neighbouring Catholic and public primary schools, which Principal Louise Minogue said was a deliberate decision designed to encourage bright students to mingle with like-minded peers.

“The students’ feedback from being involved in the program is very positive – they say that they love the learning opportunities it provides,” she said.

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