What Minecraft game could you create that would help students learn?
Required: Interview a young person who plays Minecraft. Have them walk you through some of the things they know about the game. Play the game with their supervision.
This was an easy task for me this week, because my boys love Minecraft. My six year-old, Jackson, squealed when I told him I needed him to each me what he wanted to create this week. He is really into making buildings and them setting them on fire. The boys have learned that they can join their sister’s world, they call Girl Town. We have had to stop them from teaming up and knocking down her buildings.
I haven’t seen them play in a while, they were so fast. I watched them pick materials and tools to make new areas in the game. My eight year-old, Joey, showed me how they have to eat the animals to get strength. They also talked about the creepers and about how they really want to download the zombie version (Survival mode) – they know we don’t allow the more graphic version yet they play in the adventure mode.
I asked my boys about the some of the tasks listed on the MinecraftEDU Redstone Engineering Challenge, they said that they had already make most of the items on the list. They had already made a roller coaster and fire. In fact, they showed me the volcano they last used on Girl Town.
Although I don’t agree with most aspect of the Common Core Math Standards, this chart shows what Minecraft can deliver (provided by teachhub.com):
|What Math Standard Expects||What Game Delivers|
|Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.||Students work to understand and solve problems within game constructs.|
|Reason abstractly and quantitatively.||To play effectively requires student understand what is occurring and visualize solutions.|
|Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.||The game’s nature requires students interact with others to discern who can assist in achieving goals.|
|Model.||Game models a reality students likely will never experience, but wish they could.|
|Use appropriate tools strategically.||As with real life, players must determine what tools are available (both physical and psychological) and how to use them to achieve goals.|
|Look for and make use of structure.||Life in the game works better with a plan.|
In my classroom, I would begin with a basic foundation of the game features (even though most kids won’t need it). I would then give tasks, like I want you to make a volcano, rollercoaster or something with fire (much like the MinecraftEDU Redstone Engineering Challenge). If a student has a question about a feature or how to make something, I would encourage them to ask another student to inspire the social side of gaming.
I would use Minecraft in the classrooms; I think it does have more opportunities for learning than Sims or Spore. I like that the students are working with 3d objects or cubes. The game does inspire independent learning and a way to express their imaginations. They are able to interact with other worlds, so team projects could be implemented. The game itself inspires problem-solving and effortless critical thinking.
Unknown. (n.d.). How To Play Minecraft. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from http://www.minecraftopia.com/how_to_play_minecraft
Dr. Fryer, Wesley. (n.d.). MinecraftEDU Redstone Engineering Challenge. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from http://stem.wesfryer.com/home/minecraft/redstone
Murray, Jacqui. N.d. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from http://www.teachhub.com/minecraft-classroom-teaches-reading-writing-problem-solving