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Fantastic Voyage: Minecraft Lesson Planning

Minecraft
Written by Miguel Guhlin

Add project-based learning components to these Minecraft lesson plans and see learning and engagement soar in your classroom.

Embarking on a fantastic voyage of learning with Minecraft? Let’s review the building blocks of project-based learning success. Minecraft Global Mentor, Benjamin Kelly (@BBTNB), starts us off with this project,  Minecraft Musical Chairs:

Fantastic

Anatomy of a Project

Texas educators may want to add a few more components to Ben’s project task card:

  • SWBAT statement
  • TEKS and ELPS
  • Engaging scenario
  • Formative assessment activities.

Let’s take a closer look at these building blocks.

Block #1 : Student Will Be Able To (SWBAT)

Minecraft Project Task CardsJared Dees writes “SWBAT stands for “Students Will Be Able To….” Use SWBAT to focus a lesson plan on what the students learn by doing. Ask yourself “How do these verbs Jared includes align to what students do in Minecraft?”

Block #2: Relevant TEKS and ELPS

Learning happens on the messy journey from problem to solution. Aside from using The TEKS Resource System, hook students with a problem scenario.  Match the grade level TEKS to a core content-embedded scenario.

In Ben’s example, students show how they can work together. They construct a 3D physical representation of their learning by first developing construction criteria together and then adding their own positive improvements. In this way, student-architect teams achieve constructions they could not do alone.

Block #3: Fantastic Voyage

In the Project Task Card above, I adapted Lynne Telfer’s (@lynnetelfer | blog) lesson, Create Fred The Human Body! from the Minecraft: Education Edition website. In The TEKS Resource System, this science lesson for grade 7 students helps them grasp the key concept that individual components combine to perform functions as a system.

During this unit, students study human body systems for the first time…They identify the main functions of the systems of the human organism.

Block #4: Assessment

Adapt an existing assessment, (e.g. rubric) from an existing one, such as this one offered on The TEKS Resource System. To gain maximum credit, modify the rubric as shown.

The 3D model of the human body is highly detailed, accurate. The model reflects the selected system with a high degree of accuracy. Each component is clearly labeled. Signs and Non-Player Character (NPC) provide functional details. Critical fluid flow is accurate and possible. Specific information on how size, scale, properties, and materials are included.  3D human body modeling is evident, analyzed, and explained.

Conclusion

While you can  teach this lesson the old-fashioned way , using Minecraft: Education Edition makes students architects of their own learning in 3D virtual environments. Research shows this is a growing future work trend (source).

Be sure to check out these links to additional lesson ideas.

 

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About the author

Miguel Guhlin

Director of Professional Development at TCEA
A former director of technology, Miguel brings a unique perspective to TCEA’s professional development team. He specializes in Microsoft’s educational products and has extensive instructional technology experience. A prolific writer, Miguel blogs at Around the Corner and for TCEA’s TechNotes Blog. Miguel earned both his Master’s degree in Bicultural/Bilingual Studies with an ESL Concentration and his B.A. at University of Texas, San Antonio.

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