Since late 2011, MinecraftEdu has made its way to thousands of classrooms around the world. It has been used to teach all kinds of skills and subjects from math to foreign languages to social justice to fair trade.
The overarching idea of MinecraftEdu is to retain the magic of original Minecraft while adding elements that facilitate its use in classroom. Read more about TeacherGaming's philosophy here. It can act as a powerful bridge between physical and virtual classrooms, fostering critical 21st century skills. This page lists some resources and examples about using MinecraftEdu in your classroom.
- 1 Your first lessons
- 2 Lesson Examples
- 2.1 Mods and Curricula
- 2.2 Real World Examples
- 2.3 Tips for Creating Lessons Around MinecraftEdu
- 3 Worksheets and Handouts
- 4 Alignment with Curricula and Standards
- 5 Community
- 6 Games and Learning
Your first lessons
- Know your tools: Make sure you’re familiar enough with the game and the world you’re about to use. Play through the world yourself from the point of view of the student.
- What are your goals?: Just playing Minecraft can teach a lot. However, when using it in a classroom, chances are you probably have a goal; you may want to introduce a topic with the game, or you might want to practice a skill or use the game to demonstrate learning. Lay out your goals before you start.
- Giving instructions: Despite the whole range of available class management tools, it is probably a good idea to give general instructions before you let the students into the game. While in the game, you can use the in-game assignments to give instructions without disturbing gameplay. By breaking the assignments into parts, you can easily keep track of individual students’ progress.
- Grouping: Are the students working in groups, pairs, or alone? Are they all working on their own computers or sharing? Grouping can be a powerful tool: it can foster collaboration and communication.
- Tap the resources: Your students might be experts of Minecraft; don't let this intimidate you. On the contrary, give them the possibility to use their knowledge and teach others, yourself included. Giving responsibility to students may engage them in ways you couldn't imagine.
- Use the Tutorial: If you and some (even if not all) of your students are unfamiliar with Minecraft, it's a good idea to start with the tutorial world. Created by Joel Levin, the MinecraftTeachr, it introduces the central concepts of the game for both students and teachers. Here's a lesson plan intended for the tutorial world with step-by-step instructions.
- Take a look at how other educators use the game: In the examples section you can find real-life examples for lessons. Also take a look at MinecraftEdu World Library where you can find worlds made by other educators.
- Start building your own worlds: Once you've familiarized yourself with basic gameplay, you can start tinkering with your own creations.
MinecraftEdu has been used by thousands of teachers all around the world. There are mods that add further functionality or whole new areas for teaching. There are projects that provide high quality curricula on a selected field. This page is a growing list of real-world examples of many faces of MinecraftEdu.
Mods and Curricula
- qCraft (Quantum Mechanics)
- ComputerCraft (video)(Computer Programming)
- Galacticraft (Space Science)
- CustomNPCs (Cross Curricular)
Real World Examples
- Mathematics, Common Core (Shane Asselstine)
- English Language Learners (André Chercka)
- Mathematics, Science, Geography (Stephen Elford)
- Computer Programming (Mike Harvey)
- Humanities (John Miller)
- Wonderful World of Humanities (Eric Walker)
- English Language Learners (James York)
- Computer science and everything else (Joel “MinecraftTeachr” Levin)
Check out examples by subject here.
For more in-depth discussion about Minecraft in education, be sure to check out Minechat a series of interviews by Colin Gallacher with inspiring educators who use Minecraft in their teaching.
Tips for Creating Lessons Around MinecraftEdu
Here are some tips on what kind of lessons you could create with MinecraftEdu.
Have students create or explore a Real-Life building
There are many famous and historical buildings that have been created in Minecraft. Most of the time, they can be easily imported into MinecraftEdu and then modified to be classroom appropriate. These are great tools to inspire and excite students about History, Civics, Architecture, Engineering, and Cultural Studies. You can easily create a framework to challenge students to create their own Minecraft versions of real-life buildings and environments. Furthermore, students can modify these buildings and take the role of an engineer; how would they improve their own school, for example.
Practice Ratio and Proportion
Minecraft blocks are conveniently equally sized units generally considered to be the equivalent to one meter. Minecraft allows students to build whatever they want, so use the opportunity to have them create scale models when you need a practice unit about measurements and proportions. The building of scale models might integrate social studies content to allow for cross-curricular connections. Coupled with in-class lessons and activities, MinecraftEdu can help students apply the knowledge they have learned in technological and playful ways. Starting by measuring your own classroom and then recreating it in Minecraft is a great idea.
Challenge students to illustrate their reading comprehension by visualizing those concepts through Minecraft. They can reconstruct various settings and scenes from literature and use those creations to present or make predictions on what happens next. To take the idea further, they can even act out the scenes in Minecraft.
Integrate Assessments and Interactivity
Using some the special blocks added to MinecraftEdu, you can embed text in journals or information blocks. Hyperlinks can be embedded to send students to online assessments or material beyond the game. Minecraft contains many interactive materials and possibilities for engineering interactivity.
Building a Community for Survival
Survival mode is quick way to foster collaboration. The students need to provide barest necessities to make it in wilderness, such as shelter and food. Usually, they start negotiating roles sooner or later; someone in charge of gathering food, someone else of mining and someone else of building the shelter further. This is a great way to teach about collaboration and even societies. For more structured gameplay, you can use this kind of worksheets.
Worksheets and Handouts
Generalist supplemental documents to go with MinecraftEdu lessons, introduce concepts, or solicit and assess feedback.
- MinecraftEdu Controls - By MinecraftTeachr
- MinecraftEdu Basic Crafting Recipes - By MinecraftTeachr
- Post play session reflection worksheet - By Chris Scott
- Minecraft Ratios Worksheet - By Will Griffiths
- Survival Worksheet - By Lucas Gillispie
Alignment with Curricula and Standards
Playing MinecraftEdu fosters many important 21st century skills ranging from design to active citizenship. The table below will demonstrate some critical skills that MinecraftEdu teaches, which can be found from most common curricula these days.
Note, however, that Minecraft can used to teach an unimaginably wide array of subjects. Thus, alignment with curricula and standards depends on the class and teacher in question.
Common Core State Standards
Common Core was developed jointly by state education chiefs and governors in 48 states in the US. They are a set of clear college- and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and mathematics based on existing best practices in different states, and they have been adopted in 43 states. Using MinecraftEdu in the classroom usually aligns with (but is not limited to) the following standards:
|English Language Arts|
|Speaking & Listening|
|CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1||Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade specific topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.|
|CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.4||Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.|
|CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.6||Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation.|
|CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.B||Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.|
|CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.8||Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.|
|CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.1.B||Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.|
|CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7||Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.|
|Science and Technical Subjects|
|CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3||Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.|
|CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.9||Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.|
|Operations & Algebraic Thinking|
|CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.OA.B.3||Generate two numerical patterns using two given rules. Identify apparent relationships between corresponding terms. Form ordered pairs consisting of corresponding terms from the two patterns, and graph the ordered pairs on a coordinate plane.|
|CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.G.B.5||Model shapes in the world by building shapes from components (e.g., sticks and clay balls) and drawing shapes.|
|CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.G.B.6||Compose simple shapes to form larger shapes. For example, "Can you join these two triangles with full sides touching to make a rectangle?"|
|CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.G.A.4||Represent three-dimensional figures using nets made up of rectangles and triangles, and use the nets to find the surface area of these figures. Apply these techniques in the context of solving real-world and mathematical problems.|
|Measurement & Data|
|CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.MD.C.4||Measure volumes by counting unit cubes, using cubic cm, cubic in, cubic ft, and improvised units.|
|CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.MD.C.5||Relate volume to the operations of multiplication and addition and solve real world and mathematical problems involving volume.|
|CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.MD.D.8||Solve real world and mathematical problems involving perimeters of polygons, including finding the perimeter given the side lengths, finding an unknown side length, and exhibiting rectangles with the same perimeter and different areas or with the same area and different perimeters.|
Next Generation Science Standards
The rising need for improving learning STEM-subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has been recognized widely. Next Generation Science Standards were developed to answer this need. They don’t replace Common Core’s field of science literacy but supplement them. The NGSS lay out the disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices that students should master in preparation for college and careers. MinecraftEdu is a great tool for STEM education and below are a number of standards that align with it:
|ETS: Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science|
|K-2-ETS1-1.||Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.|
|K-2-ETS1-2.||Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.|
|3-5-ETS1-1.||Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.|
|ESS, LS & PS: Earth and Space, Life & Physical Sciences|
|5-PS1-4.||Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.|
|2-LS2-1.||Plan and conduct an investigation to determine if plants need sunlight and water to grow.|
|2-ESS2-2.||Develop a model to represent the shapes and kinds of land and bodies of water in an area.|
Are you a curriculum expert? Please use your expertise to make the list of curricula more comprehensive!
In addition to being an awesome game, MinecraftEdu is a global movement to engage kids in learning with the help of Minecraft. The community pages serves as a hub to different branches of the community, be it on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Check out the official community pages and resources for further info, weekly round-ups and more.
The Minecraft Teachers Google Group is one of the easiest places to get together with like-minded people. Do you have a question? Chances are that someone of the 1,500 teachers and other members of the Google Group knows the answer. Do you need teachers or classes to collaborate with? There are always people looking to share a server and get to know people from all parts of the globe. Do you want to keep up with the latest development? Minecraft Teachers is where developers actively take part in the conversations and announce up-coming features and beta-testing.
MinecraftEdu includes extensive building tools and teachers all over the world have used them to create wonderful maps, accompanied by lesson plans. Minecraftedu.com hosts a World Library where teachers can upload their lessons and maps for the whole community. The maps can be commented on and rated to help make them even better in the future. Using the Library is easy: you can download any map using the Server Launcher with a few clicks. If you want, you can also download the maps as .zip-files.
Did you ever have an idea that would make MinecraftEdu even better? You can pitch your ideas directly to the developers and to the rest of the community in Uservoice. You can also browse other people’s ideas and comment or vote on them to make sure MinecraftEdu evolves in the direction you want.
MinecraftEdu Live is a monthly series of live streams by the developers at TeacherGaming and EduCrew, the active members of the Minecraft Teachers -community. The topics range from showcasing new features and mods to revealing secrets of creating awesome maps and customizing MinecraftEdu -experience even further.
Games and Learning
The relationship between games and learning has been recognized for decades. However, with the rise of digital gaming it has garnered more and more mainstream attention. Below are some resources that serve to introduce how games can enhance learning:
The Many Benefits, for Kids, of Playing Video Games - Peter Gray, professor of psychology, at Boston College, walks the reader through common concerns about video games and provides some reserach-based insight into the benefits of games.
"We notice some interesting examples of using commercial entertainment games in teaching. Even though the major reference to serious games refers to specifically designed games, there seems to be a potential for using entertainment games in education. ... [For example,] Yang showed that a game based strategy using commercial entertainment games was clearly effective in promoting students’ problem solving skills, whereas the control group showed no improvement."
"These studies add definitive research in the area of game-based learning. The DoD [Department of Defense, ed.] now has studies proving the efficacy of digital game-based learning and how it can improve learning." adlnet.gov
Learning in Immersive worlds: A review of game-based learning - A review of using games in education that explores the potential and challenges that educators face when using games. "The use of both leisure (commercial-off-the-shelf) games and proprietarygames need to be embedded in practice effectively and in accordance with sound pedagogic principles and design."
20 hashtags Every Teacher Should Know About - Keeping tabs on the public discussion around education is cumbersome at times. Here are a good topics to follow on Twitter.
Game-based Learning - The blog looks at gamification and games based learning theory and practice.
Games and Learning Society (GLS) - "GLS delves into how videogames capture our imaginations, how their power can be used to transform learning, and what this engaging medium means for society."