Pyramid Building 1

Pyramid Building 1

6-7 yrs old

8-10 yrs old



Lesson 1 of a sequence originally developed for Minecraft Edu and used with Yr3 (8yr olds) as a part of a study of Ancient Egypt.

avatar Submitted By: Steve Bambury

November 20, 2016


  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Creativity

Learning Objectives

  • To build a mathematically accurate 3D structure
  • To use teamwork to build a pyramid
  • To identify what a pyramid would have been made from

Guiding Ideas

What number pattern can do we find with each level of blocks?

How many blocks should the perimeter of your base be?

How many levels will your pyramid have?

What material would a pyramid be built from?

How can you work effectively as a team?

How will you best manage your time?


Student Activities

Introduce the challenge  - building a Pyramid worthy of an Egyptian pharaoh.

Explain that they will build mighty pyramids in teams and the Pharaoh will reward their efforts.
(use Egyptian themed tokens to reward teamwork/precision/pace etc )

Q: How many blocks will they need?
Q: How many blocks will be in each level?

If possible use physical cubes to allow some thinking time and have students try to work out the pattern:

Top level  = 1 cube
2nd level  = 9 cubes

so 3rd level  = 25 cubes
(pattern is odd  square numbers - depending on their ages, students may need guiding to this)

Q: Can they calculate the number of blocks for the bottom level if the pyramid is 5 levels high? How about 6?


Teams then decide on the size of their pyramid - how many levels and thus the length of each edge. Discuss teh fact that they do NOT need to fill the whole inside in if they do not wish (will be quicker not too.)

Q: What would the pyramids have been built from? show several block choices in Minecraft and discuss pros/cons e.g. strength and look of blocks. Discuss why Sandstone is likely to be the best choice.

Open a blank world and have groups move into space before they start building.
Focus on collaboration, teamwork and communication.

Extension - can they add any decorations around the outside of the pyramid?
NB groups are NOT to start digging into the pyramid/creating a tomb just yet.
They could also hire themselves out as contract builders to slower teams (for a token fee of course!)

Enrichment - if you have a particularly strong group of Minecrafters within your class, set them the challenge of constructing a Sphinx instead. I provided my students with a few images of the Sphinx and they used large sheets of paper to decide on the overall structure by assembling various cuboids and other 3D shapes to represent limbs. They then had to decide who would build what and the appropriate materials e.g. what would make an effective blue headdress?

Performance Expectations

- groups build a pyramid out of a suitable material

- groups build a pyramid that is even at each level and has a square base.

-any patterns of blocks are consistent and appropriate

- teams communicate, collaborate and manage time effectively


  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Creativity