11-13 yrs old
Reading and Writing
Students explore Summer’s mountain base.
March 24, 2021
Redstone Dust – Official Minecraft Wiki
Netherite – Official Minecraft Wiki
The Mountain - Minecraft World File
Minecraft world to support the lesson activities. Link will open in Minecraft: Education Edition.
The Mountain - Minecraft World File Direct Download
Minecraft world to support the lesson activities.
Minecraft: The Mountain Teacher's Guide
Additional ideas to provide vocabulary acquisition, discussion questions, fun interactive lessons, team-building activities and writing exercises.
About Minecraft: The Mountain
In the new official Minecraft novel from Max Brooks, a stranded hero stumbles upon another castaway—and discovers that teamwork might just be the secret to survival. Minecraft: The Mountain is a highly engaging novel for upper elementary and middle school students (Grades 5–8). The author uses Minecraft as a setting for lessons about friendship, teamwork, and resilience. Tying into these concepts and offering opportunities for deeper engagement this series of lesson plans can be taught in conjunction with reading the novel.
Students arrive at the entrance to the mountain after being guided by a grass trail. They are greeted by an NPC at the red poppy who helps them see how to turn off the lava flow and find the doors to enter. Once inside, an NPC greets them with additional supplies - including the book and quill and the camera and portfolio that students will use later. The NPC also tells students to explore Summer’s amazing designs, contraptions, and inventions. Students will explore the home and look for examples of Redstone engineering or Netherite in use. Students write an explanation of how an item was created and why it works in the game. Students then use design thinking and reverse engineering to improve Summer’s designs. Students explain what they have changed and why it is an improvement in an example of expository writing.
• How does Redstone impact the elements in the game to create new functions?
• How can Netherite be used as a fuel?
• What parts of the design process are key to backwards engineering?
Teacher preparation and notes:
• Standard(s) alignment:
Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to convey experiences and events.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
• Ensure students have read up to chapter 10 in The Mountain by Max Brooks.
• Word list for chapter 10: clairvoyant, landmark, signposts, taunting, ethereal, cryptically, doused, depression, pillar, dram, stammered, detected, annoyance, blighter, detonated, awe, tentacles, conviction, hideous, crystalline, regeneration, levitation.
1. Read chapter 10 of The Mountain by Max Brooks.
2. Login to Minecraft: Education Edition and open the world worked on previously.
Minecraft world exploration:
3. Students exit the underground hiding place and are greeted by an NPC. Students read the dialogue in standard form or by using the Immersive Reader icon for accessibility: “How was your night? Did you decorate the place nicely? Time to find out what’s going on with the mountain. Follow the grass path to the lava flow.”
4. Students travel to the base of the mountain following the grass path.
5. Students are greeted by an NPC at the red poppy that states, “You’ve come such a long way. Well done. The red poppy marks the place where a hidden switch turns off the lava flow and lets you inside the mountain. See if you can find it and think about how that works exactly.”
6. Students discover the lever buried under the red poppy and select it to turn the lava flow off. The doors under the lava flow appear when the lava stops. Enter the mountain base through these doors.
7. Another NPC greets the students: “Feel free to explore the amazing creations inside this base. Look for Redstone and Netherite especially. See if you can figure out how these elements work together to power our world. You might need these items later, so grab them now.”
8. This NPC gives the player book and quill, camera, and portfolio. Students need these items to complete later lessons, so they should take them now or return here later to gather them.
9. Once inside the mountain base, students explore Summer’s creations and innovations. Students should note the Redstone engineering and use of Netherite in the designs.
10. Another NPC inside the mountain explains how to get to the Nether Portal for lesson 4. There is signage at the bottom of the stairs as well.
11. After giving students time to explore, host a discussion thread, chat, synchronous conversation, or Flipgrid topic about what students see in the base. Encourage students to provide explanations for how these elements are designed and how they work.
12. Students then select one of these contraptions to modify.
13. Once students select their focus, they work to improve the contraption by somehow changing its design. Encourage creativity and design thinking to refine and rebuild the engineering until the contraption is complete.
14. Once the students’ design modifications are complete, students write to explain the invention they chose, how it worked, how they modified it and why, and how it works at the finish.
15. Students submit this writing as a Teams assignment in Word or OneNote, or in another format.
• Students screen record examples of their contraptions after the improvements are complete using Flipgrid, Stream, or another screen cast tool. Students share these videos with the teacher or with their class, complete with audio narration or written description of the design elements.
• Students test each other's contraption designs by sharing worlds with each other.
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