11-13 yrs old
Math & Economics
This lesson designed by Toby Peck, Belvedere Park Primary School takes advantage of the code building capacity of Minecraft to stage experiments.
April 27, 2021
ACMI Showcase: Experiments in Minecraft with Megan Pusey
Coding with Minecraft
Introduction to Commands and Command Blocks in Minecraft Education Edition
Using Command Blocks
Toby Peck's Farming Model Experiment
Demonstration of the experimental capability of Minecraft.
The command and code building capacity of Minecraft allows for the design, creation and staging of experiments, especially some that might be difficult or impossible to stage in the physical world.
Students as a class view the video demonstrating Toby's the farming model experiment. The question is will plants continue to grow at night if exposed to artificial light sources (torches)?
Ask students if they might replicate this experiment? Have students discuss…
How would they go about designing it? Can you run the experiment manually (without code or command blocks)? What value does the code or command blocks provide? What commands or code might it require?
Students form small teams to deconstruct the experiment and brainstorm ideas for how to to use command blocks and/or to code the Agent to build the farm. How can the tasks in the experiment be broken down? The will need to break the components into parts planting 1 bed, planting a row of beds, planting 2 rows of beds, growing cycles, light on or off? They may need to re-watch the video to break down the components. Students might create a flow chart to show the breakdown of step/components and the flow of activity.
Share, compare and discuss flowcharts/plans with another group in class and get feedback on your group’s ideas. Give students time to rework their plan incorporating any feedback received.
Students can then create a world in Minecraft to begin to design their programmed components for the experiment, beginning with planting a single bed. They could build the farm and run the experiment manually? Then consider what part of the experiment they want to expedite with code. Coding is an iterative experience and students should code test and save components in small chunks and frequently.
Once students feel the coding is complete they should run their experiments several times, collecting data and establishing findings.
If students satisfactorily code and run the farming experiment, they might then move on to design their own experiments. The remainder of the video offers other ideas for experiments that can effectively be run in Minecraft. Megan Pusey demonstrates ideas for experiments in her 2020 ACMI conversation on the Science of Minecraft.
Student groups should design, create, code or command (where appropriate) and run their own selected experimental designs. They should run their experiments several times, collecting data and establishing findings, then present their experimental process, data and findings to the class.
Students will demonstrate understanding of the components and steps in the scientific process by designing experiments, gathering data and reaching findings.
They will demonstrate an understanding of the efficiencies of code for running repeatable and replicable processes in those experiments.
Science: Science Inquiry skills Levels 5&6, 7&8
Sign up for the Minecraft: Education Edition newsletter. We promise to respect your inbox.