14-18 yrs old
Government and Politics
Topics covered include the causes of war, communication, strategy, and remembrance. Was Morse code an effective means of communication during the era?
October 22, 2020
World War I Toybox world
Minecraft: Education Edition world file
Lesson Overview Video
WWI extension lesson
Morse code decoding page
WWI Toybox Interactive Image
World War I Toybox Assessment
WWI Flight impact Notes PDF
WWI Flight impact Notes .DOC
National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies Themes
C3 Framework Dimensions
The World War I world in Minecraft allows students to see, interact with, and explore some of the elements of the conflict while using out-of-game research, reading, writing, reflection, discussion, and art to enrich the whole learning experience. This lesson set ensures that students in high school courses have a basic understanding of the primary elements of World War I in a memorable and engaging methodology. Topics covered include the causes of war, communication, strategy, and remembrance. World War I toybox is structured and broken into five lessons over 4 weeks x 60 minutes per day.
Lesson 2 of 5
Was Morse code an effective means of communication during the era?
Preparation and materials
Begin this lesson by tapping your fingers on the desk. As the students quiet down, tap in a rhythm that demonstrates intentional tapping (not just annoyed tapping!). Tap a short pattern and ask the students to repeat it back. Tap a longer pattern and see which students can still repeat it back. Explain that all of the English language can be narrowed down to a series of taps, and that is a method of communication that is utilized by all sorts of people around the world over sound or visual cues. Ask if anyone knows what this communication method is called (Morse code).
Students enter the Minecraft: Education Edition world and fly back to NPC President Woodrow Wilson. Use the button in the dialogue box for “morse code” to travel to the next activity.
Students are greeted here by NPC Samuel Morse who says, “Morse code was invented in the 1830s. Each code is associated with one letter of the English alphabet. See if you can use what you know about the code to decode this message.”
Give students 5-10 minutes to decode the message in the world that is written on the wall in yellow blocks. Ask what was most difficult about decoding the message. (The message is SOS.)
Explain that Morse code is written out using a machine called a telegraph, but it is also used with sounds and lights to communicate over long distances.
At the end of the wall with the message in yellow blocks, there is a sign explaining the build challenge. Students can use the space in front of them or a new Blocks of Grass template world to complete their work.
Challenge students to use any means necessary in Minecraft to build a "telegraph" machine that will communicate a message in Morse code. This could be done using sounds, lights, or other method that the students come up with! This may take a few days of class time. Students may work individually or in pairs. If students don't know how to get started, encourage them to use in-game tutorials on Redstone or videos on YouTube to get some ideas.
Encourage students to research actual wartime messages that would have been sent to use in their telegraph.
When students begin to finish their Morse code messages, ask other finished students to experience their communication method and attempt to decipher the message. Circulate among completed projects to assign scores.
Students can use the “Lesson Selection” button inside NPC Samuel Morse to return to NPC Wilson to start the next activity.
Students research wartime and peacetime uses of Morse code (social studies).
Students build a telegraph in the physical world using this lesson from Hacking STEM.
Morse code machines
4 - Student successfully built a telegraph in Minecraft that communicates via Morse code in a completely creative method. Student programmed an appropriate, authentic message to appear in game for other students to decode.
3 - Student successfully built a telegraph in Minecraft that communicates via Morse code in sound, light, or other method. Student programmed an appropriate, authentic message to appear in game for other students to decode.
2 - Student built a telegraph in Minecraft that is designed to communicate via Morse code but was not completely successful. Student attempted to program an authentic message to appear in game.
1 - Student began to build a telegraph in Minecraft but did not complete the work. Student needed to plan an authentic message to appear in game.
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