While looking for some inspiration for some MinecraftEDU lessons I came across a post from PCGamer that lists the top 25 custom Minecraft maps. The post lists 25 great custom Minecraft mods but one really intrigued me, Survival Island.
Above is the screenshot of the entire map. On the surface Survival Island is a small sandy island with only one tree. The main goal is to survive with the limited amount of resources available. This would be challenging enough but there are also some secondary challenges that players need to accomplish:
Challenges/ Goals to Accomplish:
Build a 2 story house with 20+ windows in it.
Build 10 bookshelves.
Create an automated cactus farm.
Create an underground tree farm.
Create an above ground mob/animal trap.
Build a water trap around the skeleton spawner.
Build a cart system.
Make something with redstone.
Gather 10 unused diamonds.
Find the treasure of the Lost Curator.
Using the information block from MinecraftEDU I added the secondary challenges onto the island:
The response has been pretty interesting. I had to reset the map after the first session because nobody saved any saplings, so there was no more wood after the tree was destroyed. This was also before I had posted the secondary challenges.
I think this idea could be used in lots of different subject areas. It definitely requires collaborative problem solving and team work. I think it is ideal for teaching about renewable vs. non-renewable resources maybe even deforestation and overall it is very engaging.
I have been toying with this idea for a couple of weeks now and just decided to go ahead and throw it out there and see what happens. I am setting up a MinecraftEDU server that can be accessed by any teacher. The hope is to have teachers collaborate and create a Minecraft unit that can then be made available for download. I think that having teachers collaborate on a particular unit will yield a better product than if any one teacher attempted this on their own. So, my initial idea is to create a Unit or Lesson based on the architecture and history of Ancient Rome. The idea came to me after finding this map available for download. The map has several identifiable Roman structures that could be used in a lesson about Roman architecture. My hope is that teachers will jump in and start adding assignments. Along with the server I have created a Google doc that will allow teachers to add written assignments or questions. The goal is to bundle this document with the map and give teachers the option of printing the document and giving it to students to fill out as they explore the city.
The plan as I see it will work like this:
Server set up with Romecraft map.
Give out the IP: Contact me for IP
Set up a Google Doc to allow teachers to add assignments. This document will be bundled with the map download.
Give out teacher password: Contact me through twitter (@warrenbez), email or leave a comment to get teacher password
Obviously, opening the server like this makes me a little nervous, the opportunity for griefing is huge, but I think the openness allows for more people to jump in and collaborate. This is the first iteration of this idea and future attempts may require a whitelist or private invitations. But for now I am going to hope for the best.
So, if you are interested jump on to the server and take a look at the city and maybe even add an assignment.
A portion of my multimedia class this year has been devoted to learning and using MinecraftEDU in creative mode to build a scale model of of our school. The students measure different parts of our school and then estimate how many block would be necessary for recreating that part of the building in Minecraft. 1 Minecraft block is equivalent to about 3 feet 3 inches. The project is coming along quite nicely. Below you can see the video of the project as it stands now. We have focused our attention on the middle school building and football field for right now. This part of the project is about 2/3 complete.