This is the second year I am using Minecraft in my classroom. As I did last year, students are creating the community/civilization from the literature they have read in their ELA classes.
This year I wanted to take the Minecraft build a step further. Many of the students are already very proficient in Minecraft. I wanted them to think and problem solve while they built the Gibb Street Community from the book Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman. The best way to do this is by allowing students to use ComputerCraft to program turtles to mine and build for them.
I’m no expert when it comes to programming turtles, but I found some great tutorials on YouTube and sent the students there. (I did watch each video to make sure it was appropriate before giving students the link.) Students watched and learned. I learned as well as we worked through the process together. (The picture on the left is a student standing behind his turtle while it mines.)
I also allowed students to automate parts of their build using redstone. (Redstone is a fictional mineral in Minecraft that acts as an electrical wire to build electronic circuits, circuitry gates, pistons, dispensers, and other machines.) Students built all kinds of cool things. My favorite are street lights that actually work when it gets dark.
To watch students engage in work so deeply is incredible. They demonstrated their understanding of the text by what they were building. It is a good day when you can have a blast and learn a great deal at the same time.
For more on what I have been doing with Minecraft in the Classroom, check out these past posts.