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Learning Maths in a Minecraft World

Maths lessons have been given an engaging and relevant twist, thanks to a specialist college’s personalised new online Minecraft world.

Staff and maths students at Derwen College in Shropshire, have created ‘Derwen-craft’ – an online world which even features a replica of the College’s functional skills hub, The Bradbury.

The college for young adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is making maths more engaging and combining numerical skills with imagination and problem solving.

Students taking Functional Skills maths lessons are benefitting from the ‘gamification’ of maths, solving problems on a gaming platform that they already enjoy.

The ‘Derwen-craft’ world features maths problems created by functional skills coordinator Leah Bamford.

“With Minecraft, we have created a world which we call ‘Derwen-craft’, where Functional Skills maths is disguised in colour, creativity and competition,” explained Leah.

“This is a world where solving maths problems is not intimidating, can be personalised and brought to life to have great cognitive value and help develop social skills. And let’s not forget, it’s great fun too!”

At Derwen College, students aged 16 –25 years olds, learn work and/or independence skills to support them in adulthood.

Maths skills are embedded into all the college’s vocational pathways, whether that’s Hospitality students measuring ingredients for a recipe, Performing Arts students counting dance steps, Retail students working out what change to give customers in the charity shop or Horticulture students measuring the growth of seedlings.

“We are learning maths but can be creative too,” said Performing Arts student Meg (pictured above), who has built a virtual holiday home to learn money skills, map scaling, and how to work out the cost of renting out a speedboat.

“The only rules are ‘don’t kill villagers or destroy other people’s buildings. We’re allowed to kill polar bears and rabbits. All’s fair in maths and Minecraft!”

Find out more about how Derwen College supports a wide range of students aged 16-25 years old with SEND at



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