October 13, 2020 | Computer Science, Minecraft: Education Edition, Python
We’re offering new ways for students to explore computer science and deepen their coding abilities! Announcing two lesson packs focused on the Python programming language, including ten activities using Microsoft MakeCode and six featuring our newly created notebook-style code editor. If your students want to learn to code using Python, this content will be a great introduction!
Python 101 features a ten-lesson progression where students learn to write code in Python while helping the fictional CodingMine software development company. This mini-course teaches the absolute basics of Python and takes students from knowing no syntax to defining functions and creating their own mini-game in Python. Easy, self-guided tutorials allow students to work at their own pace, including unplugged activities and concept explanations with unique worlds built specifically for this course. Meanwhile, teacher notes guide educators through the instructional process. You’ll find the entire Python 101 course in our Computer Science Subject Kit.
Lesson 1) All that Syntax: Command Structure and Syntax The CEO of CodingMine needs your students’ help correcting bugs. Learners write down Minecraft Python commands using proper syntax, then find and correct errors in existing pieces of code.
Lesson 2) Location, Location, Location: Parameters and Coordinates Students need to write down Python commands to place blocks in the right locations in a three-dimensional space and find the most efficient way to construct objects.
Lesson 3) A Varied Outcome: Variables Students need to help CodingMine with the development of their new farming software. This software will help farmers in every step of the farming process, from planting and sorting to selling the produce.
Lesson 4) Animals Are Friends: Lists and Methods Students help CodingMine with the development of new software for an animal hospital. Veterinarians need help to easily identify and categorize animals, then prescribe different treatments and dietary requirements.
Lesson 5) A Helper for the Home: Agent and Loops CodingMine needs help developing their new top-secret project: the Agent. Students will be code the Agent to do different jobs around a house.
Lesson 6) Driving Around: Conditionals and Booleans CodingMine wants to code the Agent so it can drive a car by itself. That means the Agent needs to make decisions and analyze the road for any obstacles and signs. Students code the Agent to address several simulated traffic situations.
Lesson 7) Emergency Response: While-loops and Sequences The Agent needs to help out in emergencies by building multiple structures like water barriers, firebreaks, and reconstructed house foundations. Students code the Agent to respond to simulated situations until the software is advanced enough to try out in the real world.
Lesson 8) Planting a Seed: Functions An ecological organization wants to plant a large number of trees on a deadline, but it’s not an easy job to prepare the soil to plant pastures of saplings. The developers have been having some problems with their code, and need your students’ help.
Lesson 9) All Fun and Games The developers at CodingMine are writing a game called Agent Invader, but they’ve been having some problems with the controls, firing system, and scoring. Students develop and write one large piece of code throughout this lesson. By the end, the students will have written a fully working game!
Lesson 10) Creative Coding Learners take part in a two-student coding battle with ten challenges. They have 3.5 minutes to complete each task in this fun and competitive activity.
In Python Islands, students learn to write code in the new notebook-style code editor. This mini-course features a six-lesson progression covering important concepts like syntax, variables, data types, conditional statements, iteration, functions, and lists. Students can work through six unique worlds at their own pace, and we’ve provided notes to guide educators through the teaching process.
Learners will love the mystical kingdom of Python Islands, floating high above the world below. They’ll explore the realm as they work through a series of themed tasks on each island. Every world reflects a different age of humankind and teaches the basics of Python. Completing coding tasks will allow the kingdom to take its next technological steps! Discover Python Islands in our Computer Science Subject Kit.
Island 1: Introduction to Python, the Agent, and Outputs Enter the stone age and get an introduction to Python, variables, data types, and how to use the Minecraft Agent.
Island 2: Conditional Statements In the iron age, explore if/else statements along with some more advanced Agent functions.
Island 3: For-loops During the medieval period, students cover for-loops. This island focuses on tasks that need to be repeated a fixed—or known—number of times and includes both single a double level for loops.
Island 4: While-loops The next island advances to the Victorian era and covers while-loops. It focuses on tasks that involve an unknown number of loop iterations.
Island 5: Functions Arrive in modern times and explore functions. This island centers around building small functions to solve specific tasks, which the game then runs to check.
Island 6: Lists
This island also takes place in the modern era and focuses on creating lists, appending to lists, and accessing data. It involves both 1D lists and 2D lists.
In addition to Python Islands, there are also a whole series of simple tutorial projects for the notebook-style code editor available in Minecraft: Education Edition. All you have to do is press “C” to code and select “Notebooks” as your preferred code editor. You’ll see many of the same tutorial projects like Agent Moves and Chicken Rain that are available for the MakeCode and Tynker editors, and a few new ones specifically tailored to Python. These tutorials are a quick and easy way to get started!
We’re eagerly anticipating how students will engage with Python. Once they’ve explored this programming language through our new learning content, there’s no telling where their coding adventures will take them. Take a look at all of the coding lessons, curriculum, and resources available through our Computer Science Subject Kit, and begin your adventure today!
If you’re excited about these possibilities and want to try Minecraft: Education Edition with your students, head to education.minecraft.net/get-started.
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