I have been intrigued by the use of Minecraft as a teaching tool for a few months now. It seems to be a great tool that teachers can use for immersive, authentic learning in their classrooms. The students in my “Robotics and multimedia” class are using MinecraftEDU to build a replica of our school. They are in creative mode and there is some good progress being made. I will post a video of the completed project near the end of this year.
Today, however, I used MinecraftEDU for my first social studies lesson. I am currently teaching a Tennessee history class. Part of the curriculum for this class deals with the founding of Nashville. I was looking for a way to have students understand the difficulties that settlers faced when establishing the first settlement along the Cumberland river. I decided to have them use MinecraftEDU to create a replica of Ft. Nashborough.
Below are the instructions that I posted for students:
You are part of the Robertson and Donelson parties that have arrived at French Lick near present day Nashville. You are a part of a group of settlers that must build a permanent settlement for your families. Your group will need to build a stockade that will protect you from animals and native american attacks.There are two parts to your construction. First the entire group must get together to plan your stockade. Using this site as your guide you will need to decide how large to make the fence that will serve to protect you from animals and native american attacks. Your second job will be to create. The site above will give you a good idea of what your house should look like.You will need to meet as a group to sketch out your stockade on the whiteboard. Elect a leader that will run your meeting. Remember to include two-storey buildings on the corners of your stockade that can be used for shooting over the fence.Tasks:
- On a piece of paper draw a floorplan of your house. Your house must include:
- Bedroom area large enough for your family of 4
- Kitchen area
- Find a location within the stockade to place your house.
- Decide what types of raw materials you will need to build your house.We will be using a software program to build your stockade collaboratively.Your grade will be based on the level of authenticity of your personal house and of the stockade. We will compare your completed stockade to that of the current stockade in Nashville.
Engagement was tremendous. Students worked in pairs and they were really proud of their creations.