Enter a Fairy-Tale World Where Computer Science and Creative Writing Collide

When you think about coding, the first thing that comes to mind might be software development, game design, or artificial intelligence. But what if you could use computer science to tell a story? In the latest lessons for Minecraft: Education Edition, we’re taking students inside fairy-tale worlds where they can flex their creative writing and computer science skills!

Today we’re launching Story Time Coding, a new set of lessons designed by Phygital Labs that will help learners bridge the gap between language arts and code. Over a space of three days, students will have the chance to recount, experience, and reconstruct three classic fairy tales: Hansel and Gretel, The Three Little Pigs, and Jack and the Beanstalk. As part of their learning, they’ll immerse themselves in the worlds of these familiar characters, use computer science to push the narrative forward, and put their own stamp on some old favorites.

With their trusty Agent at their side, students might be able to secure all three of the little pigs’ homes against the big, bad wolf. They could alter Jack’s magic beans so they grow their way to a new adventure entirely. Maybe they can even find a peaceful resolution between Hansel, Gretel, and the witch. Set your students free to create and see what they dream up!

Lesson 1: Recounting the Fairy Tales

To start, arrange students into groups. In these groups, learners will take turns recounting one of the three focus stories: Hansel and Gretel, The Three Little Pigs, or Jack and the Beanstalk. Encourage group members to help each other by adding details to the story without taking over the narrative. Once this phase is complete, gather your students back together and discuss the fairy tales. Using one of the three stories, model a chart that lists the characters, settings, and basic plots. This step will help your learners gain familiarity with the elements of a story and create their own charts before embarking on their fairy-tale journeys in the world of Minecraft.

Lesson 2: Experiencing the Adventure

Students enter the Story Time Coding world in Minecraft: Education Edition. They’ll spawn inside a storybook ship and choose which of the three fairy tales they’d like to experience. For The Three Little Pigs, learners pretend they’re the wolf and use code to blow down the hay house and the wood house, each containing a little pig. They’ll have to watch out for the brick house… There’s a trick inside! For Jack and the Beanstalk, learners take their mother’s cow to the village to trade for food. But first, they must code their way across the broken bridge. Once they return home and plant their seeds, they can watch the magic begin. Keep an eye out for the giant, though! In the world of Hansel and Gretel, learners walk through the forest, munching on sweet cakes, finally finding themselves at the witch’s candy house. Be careful: She’ll make you sick and unable to escape. Students will need to use the emergency exit, then run their code to defeat the witch and save the day.

Lesson 3: Changing the Story

Once students have completed the stories, they can select one and brainstorm ways to modify its characters, setting, or plot using code. They complete their own version of the story elements chart from lesson one, including their thought process for changing one character or setting to impact the plot. They can describe the ways their story would change verbally or write them down, then propose their changes with a sketch. Once you approve their sketches, they’re ready to build their changes into the story within the Minecraft world. Students can use the camera and portfolio to take a picture of their creations and write a few sentences about how they’ve changed the story.

A giant beanstalk with a structure on top towers over the landscape in Minecraft: Education Edition

Story Time Coding is a creative way to tackle computer science, a subject that some students may find intimidating. Who knows? By blending reading, writing, and code, you may engage a learner who never thought they’d be interested in computer science! Find all three lessons in our Language Arts Subject Kit and start your adventures today.

If you haven’t tried Minecraft: Education Edition with your students yet, today’s the perfect time to get started!