Learning About Symmetry Using Minecraft

The idea behind this lesson was to tap into the children’s obsession with Minecraft to teach the following aspect of the Maths curriculum for Year 4

  • complete a simple symmetric figure with respect to a specific line of symmetry.

First of all, we discussed how to begin to complete the other half of a symmetrical pattern with respect to a given line of symmetry. We dealt with the misconception of translation v reflective symmetry.

The children were then given the opportunity to use Minecraft to create their own symmetrical patterns with a partner. Below are some of the results. The children were able to produce many symmetrical patterns within the time given. They were created much more accurately than they would have been using pencil and paper.


Using Epic Citadel and Tiny Tap apps to work on Word Classes

Although it is absolutely necessary to teach children spelling, punctuation and grammar, it can be seen by some children (and teachers) as not being the most exciting aspect of the curriculum to teach. This doesn’t have to be the case. People such as Rob Smith (Literacy Shed) and Lee Parkinson (ICT Mr P) have great ideas for bringing SpAG to life.  There are others too.

One aspect of SpAG that my class seem to find it tricky to grasp is the concept of word classes. Understanding these is important as a foundation for effective sentence construction. Therefore, I wanted to find a way to make the learning of word classes a little different from the norm.

I have used the app Epic Citadel since our school first got iPads. It is a fantastic app for inspiring writing. There are some brilliant ideas about how to use it on Lee Parkinson’s blog here . Lee was the person that introduced me to the very versatile Tiny Tap app through his work creating stories where the reader made choices. I decided to use a combination of these two apps to hopefully bring word classes to life!

This was the basic sequence of the lesson. The children really enjoyed it and it really made them think about the different word classes.

  1. The children took screenshots from inside the Epic Citadel app.
  2. Then they opened the Tiny Tap app and created a new project.
  3. Next, they chose backgrounds and added text labels for each word class they were working on.
  4. After that, they imported one of their screenshots.
  5. Then they chose the ‘add activity’ option which allows them to create ‘soundboards’ on each of the labels.
  6. When creating the soundboards, the children added examples of that word class inspired by the image from Epic Citadel.
  7. Finally, they played their project and when they pressed on the labels, their examples appeared.

Here are some of the finished efforts.