There is a lot of buzz about Minecraft and the positive effects it can have in the learning and its place in the classroom. Not sure what Minecraft is – check out this youtube video:
I really like this sandbox game. Students use not only their imagination in creating their own worlds but must also use thought when planning out their structures . In my school, there are quite a few students who love playing Minecraft. I decided that I would challenge them at lunch hour to complete a series of tasks. The player who could finish all the tasks would win a big bag of Skittles. Not that they needed the Skittles as a motivator. The energy and excitement that this program created was crazy. I only announced it a few days beforehand and had a full roster of competitors the day before the challenge.I was lucky that on the day that I offered the challenge that we had a split 7 and 8 lunch hour. Below in the resources, I have attached the challenge that I gave to the students in my library.
I knew that I would have to set down a series of rules and create a mindset so that this challenge would run smoothly. I emphasized that this was a peaceful challenge (it seems that they like to blow up each others structures a lot). The students had to be in creative mode using peaceful settings. They were allowed to change the time settings so that they could always build in daylight. Another requirement that I had was that they all had to have their own accounts. Maybe in the future we can look into getting a school account and a server. Students could play on the school computers or on their own devices as many of them had the pocket edition of the game on their phones and tablets.
It is amazing how quiet the room became when the challenge was started. One student remarked, “It is so quiet except for the hardcore clicking”. The students were so engaged and zoned in – concerned about detail and creating a perfect world. After it was finished, they were immediately asking when the next challenge would take place and giving lots of suggestions on what it could be. It was really nice to see their enthusiasm and I was happy that I was able to create a program that was of interest to them.
If you have never played this game and feel hesitant about having a program in your library, let me tell you now that you do not have to worry. Everyone who plays this game knows exactly how to play it and usually they are more than ready to help each other out. I noticed throughout this 45 minute challenge that students who were struggling were being guided by the person next to them. There was a lot of cooperation going on in the room which I thought was amazing. My advice is to give it a try; nothing ventured, nothing gained – believe me, you will gain a lot from hosting this program.
Minecraft Challenge from Westwood Jr.
What you need to know about Minecraft
MinecraftEDU takes hold in schools
Submitted by Kathy Conroy from Westwood Jr and Mount Pleasant Elementary