Author: Connie Cann, CCC Development Associate and 1st-2nd Grade Group Leader
Minecraft Sign designed and constructed by Akhi Mosley (4th grade).
If you have children, or internet access, you’ve probably heard of the popular open-world game Minecraft. On the surface, it looks like a digital game of Legos, with pixelated graphics and blocky monsters. However, the actual complexity and possibilities of Minecraft are astounding. To start, each new world in Minecraft is unique and vast, the maximum world size being around 9.3 million times the surface area of the Earth. It provides users a simple interface for exploration, creation, and survival.
MinecraftEdu is a version of Minecraft adapted by teachers and programmers to create compelling educational experiences. All around the globe Minecraft is being used in classrooms. Teachers everywhere, myself included, can access worlds built by other educators: worlds focusing on topics like environmental issues, city planning, and history. One map I’ve used in my workshops, the World of Humanities (WoH), was designed by a teacher in Kuwait to simulate exploration of ancient civilizations. Inspired by role-playing game World of Warcraft, students can collaborate in WoH to solve puzzles in Ancient Egypt, find their way to the top of Mount Everest, or explore the Roman Colosseum.
At CCC, we use MinecraftEdu to educate youth through a platform they are already excited about. In each workshop, the kids have their own home world, where they can create new identities, selecting their own gender and appearance, and pick a new name, which other kids will use when chatting to each other within MinecraftEdu. Our youth live in homes of their own creation designed from the ground up, placing every block of wood and glass by hand. They befriend animals like horses and wolves, train them, and use them in their exploration of our worlds. They farm their own food, fish, hunt, explore, and protect their classmates.
Kiyomi Starling (2nd Grade) and I fishing outside of our town.
Most recently, we have been using the versatile building tools in MinecraftEdu to create pixel art. Children find their images and recreate them using grids and coordinates. In this video, Rashard Mosley (3rd Grade) uses a grid to create a Minion.
Connie leads two MinecraftEdu workshops per week, one for first and second graders, and one for 3rd-8th graders.
More about MinecraftEdu:
The Wonderful World of Humanities:
Author: Amelia Joselow, CCC Director of Outreach, Green Program gardening teacher
Fingers crossed, it really is spring out there. No sudden frosts and snow, no more scraping ice off the car windshield. With warmer weather comes the possibility of more outdoor time, but for some it is hard to come out of that couch/computer/TV hibernation. And sadly, the gravitational pull of the couch doesn’t change just because the weather does. It can be hard to get out and get active even if we know it is good for us. But what if it wasn’t just good for us? What if we really needed it?