Minecraft in Education? Oh- yeah! Minecraft at Porter-Gaud School? Of course!
Minecraft for Education is a program that is widely used at Porter-Gaud School. If you walk in a middle school computer science class, you may see students on computers programming and designing their own Minecraft worlds. Lower school students have designed rainforests as collaborative projects for their across grade level experiences. Latin and Spanish students have been known to recreate major landmarks and historical time periods using Minecraft. We even have a Minecraft Club where students can create their own experiences just for fun! An amazing resource that we have on campus is Bob Irving. He is a Microsoft Global Mentor. Be sure to check him out on twitter @birv2 to learn more about Minecraft programs. Our teachers have recognized that Minecraft promotes creativity and enhances problem solving skills. Minecraft can be done individually or collaboratively.
Creating an Ancient Egyptian World with Minecraft: Students in the 5th grade at Porter-Gaud do not have exams at the end of the first semester. Instead, they have culminating projects where students work collaboratively to complete tasks and challenges. Andrea Cohen, the 5th grade History teacher, decided to use Minecraft as the platform for her culminating project. She knew that the students in her classes love to play Minecraft on their own time as well as enjoy using it in other classes for activities. So when it came time for her to design her project, she reached out to me and to Bob Irving to learn more about Minecraft. After training and exploration, this is what she designed:
Students will use knowledge gained from the first semester to work collaboratively to create an Ancient Egyptian world. The world must meet the required dimensions, have an inner chamber, the Great Sphinx, and various other creative touches (see detailed list below). This must be completed within the 90 minute project period.
Minecraft Ancient Egypt Project: Welcome to your Minecraft Ancient World! You and your partner have a mission to complete- create an Ancient Egyptian world with the following requirements:
______________ Build the Outside of the Great Pyramid of Giza using the required dimensions. 50 blocks per side and 25 Blocks Tall
_________________ Create the 1 of the 3 inner chambers of the Great Pyramid. Choose from the following: King’s Chamber, Queen’s Chamber or Subterranean Chamber (see below).
___________________ Build and create the Great Sphinx to guard the entrance to your pyramid
Once you have complete these 3 STEPS, you may spend time adding creative touches to your Minecraft Ancient Egyptian World. Suggestions include:
- Burial Tomb: sarcophagus, canopic jars, other items commonly buried with the pharaoh
- Additional smaller pyramids in Giza which help promote the size of the Great Pyramid
REMEMBER THE RULES:
- This is a collaborative project, so work well with your partners.
- You will be graded according to your effort, attention and cooperation with your partner.
- When visiting other worlds, you are not allowed to destroy or damage anything in another world. If you do not follow this rule, major points will be deducted from your project grade.
Reflection on the Minecraft project: The project was a huge success! Students in other subject areas and grade levels were begging to have a Minecraft project to complete. The Ancient Egypt world projects that the students created were mind-blowing! The details and the designs far surpassed what Mrs. Cohen ever expected. Not only was she impressed by the designs, she said the content knowledge that the students were discussing as well as generating was incredible. The students truly mastered the curricular content and were able to demonstrate this mastery through the use of Minecraft for Education. I honestly could not tell who was more pleased with the project- the students or the teacher!
Minecraft in the Classroom: https://education.minecraft.net/how-it-works/in-the-classroom/
Minecraft in Education: https://www.microsoft.com/en-cy/education/minecraft