Monday, April 15, 2013

Mine Minecraft Miracle Mire

The Minecraft Periodic Table of Elements
& the Anatomy of a Creeper.
It's a game.
It's genius.
It's a game!
They're learning!
They're fighting.
Just zombies.
How is it learning?
Well...

If you've not heard about Minecraft, {really? is that even possible?} it's a tiny little indie game about digging in the dirt and building with the materials you gather. I found it a while ago and thought the kids would love. They did. They loved it so much we had to figure out how to turn it into school to somewhat justify the attention they're giving the game.

It turns out it wasn't hard. Red2 enjoys mining for diamonds. In her travels in the real world that sparked an interest in geology. She's picked up a knack for identifying rocks. She's always been the one who lingers the longest in the museum store looking at the crystals and filling her $1 bag.

As an assignment, she needed to build a working electrical circuit with redstone. Redstone is the power source in the game. She made a sculpture of a car with red wool that she dyed in the game. Then she outfitted it with working windshield wipers, doors that opened and closed and seat-belts.

Red1 build her own Mayan temple complete with lava traps. I'm not sure Indiana Jones would be able to escape that one.

There are a lot of schools that are putting Minecraft to use to teach basic computer skills. The girls have ventured into the server space and with just a little nudge, they took a ruined village and built up a great city on a server, organized a team of other players to move in and build a huge wall around it, expand the buildings. They raise crops and livestock in the game and sell crafted items in little stores they build.

It is a game. But there's a lot in there and they've found a lot of ways to make learning fun.

Their next goal is to master the art of installing the many game mods and to perhaps start programming their own. Nudge, nudge.

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