8-10 yrs old
11-13 yrs old
Give your students the Science Syllabus and challenge them to write a 'Forces and Energy' unit for you, with Minecraft as the tool. Powerful learning.
June 21, 2018
The Force of Minecraft
A OneNote containing resources, images and work samples relevant to this unit.
Science Syllabus Physical World
This document is the initial stimulus for the activity. You may use a similar stimulus relevant to your school system.
Connect Extend Challenge
A thinking routine from Harvard Project Zero useful in gaining a deeper understanding on a topic.
Flipped Planning: It is important that the use of Minecraft in learning isn't limited to the teacher's knowledge of the program. To make sure we truly understand the potential of Minecraft in education we may need to call in the experts....the students! In this lesson I have handed over the 'lesson planning' to the them. I have given the students the Stage 3 Science syllabus on energy and asked them - "Do you think we could use Minecraft to demonstrate an understanding of forces and energy?"
This is an authentic and fun way to bring Minecraft into a crowded curriculum and get the kids thinking! This lesson can be adapted to suit your own relevant syllabus and subject area.
Lesson Overview: This lesson requires the students to design something within a Minecraft world, that demonstrates the use of force or demonstrates energy transformation. The creation can be as simple or complex as students would like it to be. They will use the syllabus as a guide for ideas and technical language. They will need to ensure that the design meets the outcome detailed in the syllabus.
To ensure the design process remains a focus, students will be asked to capture images throughout the task. These images will be used to create a portfolio of learning, showing changes made to the design over time.
At the end of this activity use the Connect /Extend/ Challenge thinking routine to consolidate knowledge and set new challenges. (See Project Zero document attached)
CONNECT: How are the ideas and information presented CONNECTED to what you already knew?
EXTEND: What new ideas did you get that EXTENDED or pushed your thinking in new directions?
CHALLENGE: What is still CHALLENGING or confusing for you to get your mind around? What
questions, wonderings or puzzles do you now have?
Another Thinking Routine that would encourage the learning to move in new and creative directions is the 'Question Starts'. See the Project Zero document attached.
Prior to task
Survey students to determine their Minecraft ability. (Link to survey - http://bit.ly/minecraftinlearning )
1. Get to know the syllabus.
Provide students with a copy of the relevant Science syllabus document. This example uses NSW Science Syllabus Stage 3 - Physical World (Copy attached). Explain the format of the document (Outcomes, content, skills).
As a class list technical terms and concepts that need defining. These might include:
For all of these concepts look for real world examples then consider the question -
Can we demonstrate examples of energy transfer or transformation in a Minecraft world?
Can we design systems in a Minecraft world that use force?
As a whole class, brainstorm and list Minecraft inventory items that relate to energy and force eg Redstone, TNT, pressure plates, glowstone
Together, write a Learning Intention for the task. e.g. 'Create an event or system within a Minecraft world that demonstrates energy transformation'.
2. Minecraft Potential
Use survey results (Prior to task survey detailed above) to form groups of students with mixed crafting abilities (3-4 students per group). Students discuss ways the learning intention could be achieved. Record ideas in OneNote.
*Another grouping option would be to put students of similar ability together to drive creativity for experienced users, and slow the process and offer targeted support for new users.
3. Plan for Success
In their OneNote, students draft a checklist for completion of activity. Checklist may include the following steps
As a class (or in groups) students write Success Criteria for the task. eg
Allow students time to design and create. Students work in their own world but are encouraged to have ongoing chats and conferences with classmates to refine and improve their design.
Student should be encouraged to use the Minecraft camera/portfolio or screenshots to capture changes to their design over time. Read Engibear 's Dream by Andrew King as an example of how a design develops and evolves.
Students use a screen capture tool to document their Minecraft creation and scientific explanation. Possible tools include Screen-Castomatic, powerpoint, ixplain app, Sketchpad
The checklist created in Student Activity (3 ) will enable students to move forward throughout this task at their own pace, as they will have a clear understanding of the direction they are headed.
The Success Criteria developed ensures students know which elements they will need to demonstrate to successfully complete the task. Grading and rubrics relevant to your school system should be used.
Differentiation Possibilities :
Students may wish to keep a diary of progress (Portfolio) that includes notes, ideas, reflections and images captured at the end of each lesson. OneNote is the ideal tool for this.
This activity could be completed in 3 - 4 hours however allowing a longer time frame will enable rich discussions, editing and modifying of ideas, time for collaboration with peers, as well as the building and presentation of portfolios. The portfolios offer a great opportunity for integration with English.
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