In October 2016, Microsoft released the long-awaited Minecraft: Education Edition, making it easier for teachers to bring Minecraft into the classroom. However, you don’t need a computer or even Minecraft software to make Minecraft an integral part of your classroom. We’ve come up with some great ways to help you engage your Minecraft-loving students offline too.
Develop a How-To Guide
For students it’s often easy to play a game and much harder to show someone else how to play again. Get students to stop and think about what it takes to play Minecraft. Then have them hone their expository writing skills by developing a how-to guide or video to help other students learn how to play the game. You can have students create a brochure outlining Minecraft’s key features or create a video focused on a more specific element of the game, such as how to make a hidden doorway in a staircase.
Create a List of Rules
Before setting students free to explore the world of Minecraft, teachers often lay out a list of rules students should follow while in the game, such as not destroying others’ structures. Once students have interacted with Minecraft a bit on their own, have them come up with their own list of rules for the online community. Rules can be serious, such as using kind words, or silly, such as banning all purple structures. Developing rules will help students learn about concepts related to citizenship and developing a healthy community.
Write a Minecraft-themed Story
A quick internet search will result in a ton of Minecraft stories written by authors hoping to capitalize on Minecraft’s fame. Chances are your students know more about Minecraft than many of those authors. Put their knowledge of the game to the test by having them write stories centered around their own Minecraft worlds. If they need help getting started, check out some of our own Minecraft-themed story starters to help spur the creative writing process.
Learn Minecraft Vocabulary
Minecraft has its own set of terminology and skills. See how much your student know by pulling out Minecraft-related words and using them as part of a spelling or vocabulary test. You can also download and print our Minecraft-themed Word Search and Bingo games to introduce students to some key Minecraft vocabulary words.
Build Minecraft-inspired Structures
When students play Minecraft, they’re immersed in a pixelated world. Everything is designed using cubes, which means creating objects with triangular or rounded edges is a bit more challenging. You can explore the same concept by having challenging students to build 3D sculptures outside of the game. Sugar cubes and square blocks make great building tools.
Design Paper Plans
Before creating in Minecraft, students can also create paper blueprints of the worlds they plan to create. Using some basic graph paper, kids can shade in different grids to represent the elements of the landscape. Then they can try to recreate their drawings within the game.
Study Perimeter, Area, and Volume
The pixelated world of Minecraft offers a great way to help students learn about perimeter, area, and volume. Using their paper plans, sculptures, or groups of blocks, have students determine the perimeter and area of a structure. They can do it easily by measuring the side of one block, and then counting the number of blocks that make up the length and width of the structure. They’ll also build their multiplication skills at the same time.
Solve Minecraft-themed Word Problems
Help build students’ addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills through the creation of some basic Minecraft word problems. For example, how many apples does a character need or how many ink sacs and bone metal are needed to make enough gray dye? We have a few Minecraft-themed word problems to get kids started.
Create Minecraft-inspired Mosaics
Cut construction paper into squares or pick up a bag of tissue paper squares at the craft store. Glue the squares onto a piece of white construction paper to create different Minecraft-inspired mosaics. For example, students could design self-portraits or glue the squares onto a box to create full-size Minecraft-inspired versions of their heads.
Design a Color by Number Worksheet
Similar to Minecraft-inspired mosaic, design a color by number worksheet for students to complete. Have students color every square with a particular number, letter, or word a certain color. Once all the squares have been colored correctly, students will have a fun picture. You can also challenge students to create their own color by number worksheets using graph paper. Then they can give them to a classmate to solve. We’ve created a few color by number worksheets to get you started: Color by Number Parts of Speech and Color by Number Addition and Subtraction.
All of these activities incorporate the principles and ideas of Minecraft without requiring students to play the actual game. Whether you already use Minecraft in the classroom or just have students who enjoy the game, you can use these activities to help engage students throughout the school year.
Do you have any fun Minecraft-inspired resources that you use in the classroom? If so, we’d love to know about them. Share them in the comments!
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