Author: Connie Cann, Development Associate and STEAM Coordinator
Akhi (age 10) wants to know: Should we recreate our whole block in Minecraft?
We’re about halfway through our Summer MinecraftEdu Workshop @ CCC. During the school year, we offer three MinecraftEdu tracks at CCC: Digital Citizenship, Architecture, and Computer Programming.
If you know any children (or gaming adults, let's be honest) you've probably heard of Minecraft. It's a sandbox game that users have used to explore, build circuits, program functional calculators, and create digital communities. MinecraftEdu was adapted by teachers and programmers at TeacherGaming to create compelling and immersive educational experiences through Minecraft. Over five thousand teachers around the world use MinecraftEdu in their classrooms, and have access to a library of prebuilt worlds and lesson plans, including Joel Levin's Escape from Everest.
In Escape from Everest, players start in a bunker beneath Mt. Everest. After working together to navigate to the surface, players realize that Mt. Everest is the only dry spot left on the planet: the ice caps have melted, flooding the Earth and destroying all life forms. The goals of their project are to cultivate new trees on the surface to bring Earth back to life, and produce iron in order to build a rocket to contact other human who are living in space. "However, these goals are in conflict. There is no coal... to smelt the iron, thus they must cut down and use some of the very trees they are trying to grow to burn as fuel. This sets up a social and technological tension which must be navigated."
Our Summer MinecraftEdu Workshop is focused on architecture. Before starting our Summer project, recreating CCC in MinecraftEdu, our youth spent a few weeks planning. While learning about the importance of blueprints, ratios, and grids, children aged 7-10 watched timelapes of other users building large-scale projects. They practiced recreating structures from around the world, including the Great Sphinx of Giza. We walked around the real-life Center, and afterwards each child built the same corner of the Center in a practice world. Afterwards, we walked around in Minecraft to look at what everyone built, discussing which elements to use in our collaborative building project.
During the summer, our two hour period is broken up into four sections: briefing, working, free-time, and debriefing. We discuss the project, plan for the day, and assign roles before working on the project. After working, children go into their home base MinecraftEdu world, where they all have their own houses within a small city they built together. Last, we sit in a circle, pass around a snack, and discuss what worked well that day and what didn't work.
We still have some landscape, roofing, and interior design to go, but the children are already feeling proud of what they have accomplished together so far. For our children, every MinecraftEdu experience is a lesson in digital citizenship. Every workshop presents new problems to be solved and new issues to be discussed. They make connections to real world topics and skills through their digital experiences, and live in societies of their own creation.
Read our last MinecraftEdu blog.
Video compiled by Connie Cann, featuring interviews and footage of Clinton "CJ" Hoilett, Molly Norris, Akhi Mosley, Jecon Bruce-Sanders, and Imam Firmin.
Music created by C418 for Minecraft.
We are using the CustomNPCs Mod for this project, and we use the ComputerCraftEdu Mod for other workshops.
Thank you to The Awesome Foundation for funding our MinecraftEdu licenses!