Building an Understanding of Area and Perimeter

Minecraft shows us that there's nothing square about learning maths!

Minecraft shows us that there’s nothing square about learning maths!

You know that game that all yours friends have been talking about, the one that takes building out of the box? Not many of your friends will see this, but Minecraft isn’t just a fun game, it’s also a great mathematical game! There’s so much that you can learn from this gameplay, from spacial awareness, to building and creating skills, to understanding symmetry and balance. But today, we want to talk about the pixels that make Minecraft such a fun design to explore!

First things first, what is a pixel? As mentioned in the video above, a pixel is a square dot. Many pixels create the computer images that you see on your screen. Take, for instance, the Zap Zap Math image below:

sample pixel1

At first glance, nothing is out of the ordinary, and it’s a great picture of our amazing Zap Zap Math galaxy. However, here is what you will see if you zoom in on the same image:

sample pixel2

There are many, many pixels that actually make up the image. These pixels are a combination of colours and hues, and the more pixels you have in an image, the better the image quality. Minecraft’s game concept is featured around the love of pixels, therefore all its characters and surroundings are made out of clearly visible pixels.

For the love of squares and boxes! Image via GooglePlay.

For the love of squares and boxes! Image via GooglePlay.

Since Minecraft is all about building your own unique world of pixels, here’s a lesson on exploring area and perimeter while building shapes!


The area is the surface in which a shape covers. By looking at the diagram above, you can see that the area of the square is 1 block. The perimeter is the length of the outline of a shape. The diagram above shows that the square has 4 sides, therefore giving it a perimeter of 4.


Now, what if we had a bigger shape to play with? By calculating all the boxes that make the shape of the square above, you will figure out that the area of the shape is 49 blocks. The perimeter, on the other hand, is 28. We know this by the amount of block sides counted around the shape. Each side of the shape is made out of 7 block sides. The square has 4 sides in total. Hence, you can add 7+7+7+7 to get the answer, or multiply 7×4.

What happens if you change the shape of the 49 blocks?


As you can see from the examples, the total area doesn’t change when you change the shape. However, your perimeter changes depending on your shape. We’ve indicated the calculations for the first diagram. Try to calculate the area and perimeter of the second diagram to see if you get an answer of AREA=49, PERIMETER=50.


Now that you’ve gotten the hang of area and perimeter, let’s put that knowledge to good use! Help us find the area and perimeter of our dear Mathling, and share with us your answer!

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