Video games, both on consuls and computers are probably the facet of technology that I am furthest out of touch with. I didn’t grow up playing video games, and because by the time I was able to get into video games on my own, at places besides my house, everyone was so much better than me already because I missed out on years of early practice and play, so I quickly lost interest. Thousands of people are relentlessly enthralled by video games, but it’s a fascination that I was never quite able to relate too. Because of this deficit, I had to do a bit of extra work researching on what Minecraft is and how it works and is played.
According to Minecraftopia.com the general purpose of the game is to build and create a home for your character. As the game advances you can create a more elaborate home with more items, while at the same time protecting your home from invaders. The game Minecraft all on its own already contains many educational benefits, including reading, writing, math and social skills (Minecraft.gamepedia.com). But Minecraftedu is a different branch of the game the exists specifically for using the game Minecraft for educational purposes. The game itself is pretty open and flexible. There are no specific commands a player must respond to, no missions or quests (minecraftopia.com). So users are free to be creative and build.
Because of the nonrestrictive nature of Minecraft there are no internal games, no other things for players to engage in apart from the main objective of the game. I’m not sure if our task is to design a game that could be a part of the Minecraft world, or to create a game that takes place outside of Minecraft, but you apply results or parts of the game to the game. Anyways, I here is the game I came up with.
Since the essence of the game is building, I would create a game that requires players to build certain types of structures. The game would have students practice using perimeter, area and volume. Each player would have a certain amount of time (e.g., one ‘day’) to create a certain amount of buildings in given dimensions. If the buildings were completed and correct, players would earn certain materials/tools. Students could also be given a sum or product, and would need to figure out the dimensions of buildings to build by figuring out factors that multiply up to the given product. this harder version would be for older students, or students who have demonstrated proficiency with the game. Not only would this game be fun and engaging for students, as well as rewarding but they would also be able to see where measurement is commonly used in the real world, through construction!
Lots of other educational applications exist for Minecraft, including ratio and proportion and even reading comprehension strategies. Kids seem to love Minecraft and many educators and some schools are already using Minecraft with their students. Linked below is a video that shows a school in North Carolina that has been using Minecraft with its students for year.