Using MinecraftEdu may sound rather too much of a leap of the imagination for teachers trying to develop children’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills but the educational team at Microsoft have developed a set of lessons for the new Aquatic version of MinecraftEdu.
“Students can use coding to build coral reefs, explore shipwrecks and underwater monuments, learn about sustainable fishing, and rescue dolphins. Educators are invited to use the free lessons provided with the update”(Microsoft)
These lessons are based around the film ‘Oceans: Our Blue Planet’. Students take on the roles of biological oceanographers and marine geologists to examine how ocean currents form, how sharks swim, how deep the ocean is, and how to craft coral reefs.
Using MinecraftEdu gives access to these lessons, which are written by teachers and cover writing code – children have the opportunity to craft coral reefs and explore shipwrecks already created in the game. They build sensors to measure the conductivity of the ocean water, analyse data such as the heights of mountains and depths of the oceans and work in 3D modelling the five ocean zones and possibly showing how the currents circulate round the globe!
If anyone is unaware of the educational versions of Minecraft – there is lots of information and many lesson plans, etc already available on the MinecraftEdu wiki.
“MinecraftEdu is a school-ready remix of the original smash hit game Minecraft, played by over 60 million people worldwide. Created by teachers for classroom use and officially supported by Mojang, the company behind Minecraft, MinecraftEdu contains a set of powerful yet simple tools to fine-tune the Minecraft experience for learning. Teachers in over 40 countries use MinecraftEdu in every subject area from STEM to Language, to History, to Art. Many lessons and activities are made available for free, and there is a vibrant, active teacher community exploring uses of the game.”(MinecraftEdu)