IT@UC Minecraft K-12 Tutorial World

ituc_minecraft_village

As part of the 2014-15 IT@UC Leadership Academy, the Team Minecraft team has developed a Minecraft tutorial world to help educators understand how Minecraft can be useful as a teaching tool. Targeting lessons for K-12 students, the IT@UC Team Minecraft world includes example lessons in the subjects of math, English, history, and science.

What is Minecraft?

Minecraft is a popular sandbox construction game in which players are able to interact with the game environment to utilize resources to create objects and structures. For example, trees can be harvested for wood which can then be used to create stairs, tables, doors, and other wooden objects. The most popular mode of play is survival mode which requires that players gather food and fend off monsters as part of game play. Our tutorial world is instead designed to be run in creative mode which allows for students to concentrate on learning over being worried about survival.

About the K-12 Tutorial World

Our tutorial world has the following four areas to demonstrate how Minecraft can be used for active learning in a K-12 environment. Students will follow signs and color coded paths to arrive at each area.

ituc_minecraft_paths

 

SUBJECT:  English
TOPIC:  Charlotte’s Web
GRADES: 3-5
PATH COLOR:  Orange

ituc_minecraft_english

In the English area, students will be given a journal as they enter the barn. As they travel through the barn, they will record their answers to questions about the story Charlotte’s Web. The journals will be left for the teacher to collect later as they leave the barn.

SUBJECT:  Math
TOPIC:  Perimeter, Area, & Volume
GRADES: 3-4
PATH COLOR:  Yellow

ituc_minecraft_math

The math area has a number of structures of which the students will be asked to determine the area and perimeter. Students are provided with the technique used to determine each problem and the correct answer as they move on to the next structure. There is also an added bonus question dealing with calculating the volume of a swimming pool.

SUBJECT:  Social Studies
TOPIC:  Discovering the Serpent Mound in Ohio
GRADES: 4-6
PATH COLOR:  Blue

ituc_minecraft_socialstudies

The social studies area requires that the students have read material about the Fort Ancient Serpent Mound. The social studies path will take them to a replica of the mound, where they will be asked a number of true and false questions. Pulling the lever of the correct choice causes a musical note to be sounded.

SUBJECT:  Science
TOPIC:  The Scientific Method
GRADES: 4-6
PATH COLOR:  Purple

ituc_minecraft_science

In the Science area of the tutorial world the Scientific Method is demonstrated around the question of whether you are more likely to catch more fish while it is raining or while it is sunny in the Minecraft world. Students are prompted to hypothesize their answer, test the theory by experimenting, record their results, and determine if their hypothesis was correct. A wall is provided to collect all student results which helps demonstrate the replication of experiments to confirm results.

 

How to get Started

Our K-12 Tutorial World is designed for the Minecraft Computer edition. There are also editions available for tablets (Pocket Edition) and gaming systems, but these editions do not interoperate with computer editions. In order to play the tutorial world, you will need to have already purchased a copy of Minecraft Computer edition.  If you have not done so already download and install Minecraft for either Windows, Mac OS, or Linux.  As of the time of writing, Minecraft costs $26.95 to purchase.

Installing the K-12 Tutorial World in Single Player Mode

1.  Download the IT@UC Team Minecraft Tutorial World file here.  Save the file in a location on your computer where you can find it.

2.  On your computer, navigate to the Minecraft directory save folder. In a typical installation, the path will look something like this:

  • Windows C:\Users\[yourusername]\AppData\Roaming\.minecraft\saves\
  • Mac OS /Users/[yourusername]/Library/Application Support/Minecraft/saves/
  • Linux /home/[yourusername]/.minecraft/saves/

3.  Copy the zipped tutorial world that you downloaded in Step 1 into the .minecraft/saves directory on your server.

4.  Unzip the K-12_Tutorial.zip file in the .minecraft/saves directory.

ituc_minecraft_installfolder

5.  Launch the Minecraft client, choose Single Player, and you should see the K-12 Tutorial world as one of the maps you can play.

ituc_minecraft_worldscreen

 

Basic Controls

Minecraft requires both keyboard controls and a scroll wheel mouse. The movement of the mouse is used to control the direction your avatar’s body is facing. There are many additional controls used in Minecraft, but the following table should be enough to get started.

Left Click attack or destroy
Right Click place or use an item
W walk forward
S walk backward
SpaceBar jump upwards

What’s Next

MinecraftEdu is a customized version of Minecraft which focuses on Minecraft in education. The per seat cost is roughly half of the commercial license, and it includes additional features such as in-game assignments, student moderation, separate teacher/student logins, and additional block types that are useful in an educational environment. Additional prebuilt world files are also available covering many K-12 topics.