Trial lesson report: MinecraftEdu
Today’s post is a report from the trial lesson we recently held on 11/29. The lesson focused on MinecraftEdu, which we’ll be using the the TECH PARK KIDS curriculum next year. Nine kids in the K–6th grade age range attended the event.
What is Minecraft?
Minecraft is a game where you can build things in a miniature garden-like environment either alone or with friends. You can combine blocks to create buildings or even create mechanisms that can move automatically.
Minecraft has attracted attention as an educational tool for its focus on working in cooperation with others, and the MinecraftEdu edition for educational use is already being used by over 5,000 teachers in over 40 countries. It’s been used for STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), as well as art, history, C programming, and a wide variety of other subjects.
First, everyone installed MinecraftEdu on their laptops.
Kids installed MinecraftEdu, set up their accounts, added a server, and changed the display from English to Japanese.
Kids played the game to learn the controls
The first step was learning the basic controls for Minecraft. Kids who weren’t used to computers or Minecraft became absorbed in the game quickly learn how to control it smoothly.
Some kids were more comfortable with trackpads than mice, since they are already used to using tablets and smartphones.
They stacked blocks to make 3D objects.
Kids then crafted their blocks into items. There are all sorts of items, and you can’t make what you want unless you follow the crafting recipe.
This child was working hard with a serious expression.
Lastly, we did “turtle programming”
While it’s fun to mine blocks one by one on your own, it’s more convenient to give instructions to the turtle character to do work for you. Giving commands to the turtle is as simple as making combinations of symbols, but it teaches basic ideas similar to programming.
Kids who attend TECH PARK KIDS next year will be familiar with procedural programs thanks to this experience giving commands to turtles.
Some kids got very absorbed in their work.
Parents also had fun and got involved thinking about the turtle commands.
The trial lesson was three hours long, but it felt like it passed in no time at all. Thanks to everyone who came to the event!