Minecraft in the Classroom

Today’s Contributor: Hello, my name is Angel Pratts Mendoza and I am the 5th grade bilingual Teacher at Pecan Springs Elementary. 

Today as I sit back and reflect on the success that my scholars have had using Minecraft in the classroom, and compare my experience with that of my colleagues, I wonder what it means to be successful with Minecraft.

Minecraft has been an excellent tool, that has given my class the opportunity to create things for the different content areas we work in in class. Unfortunately not all teachers see Minecraft as a tool, but rather a distraction for children in the class. 

Today I want to share with you three things that helped me get Minecraft Education Edition to be seen as an academic tool that students can feel safe to explore and create in while still keeping the lesson expectations and objectives clear and high level.  

  1. Accept that you will not know everything and the scholars will have prior knowledge that you do not.  I myself accepted this and invited students to be the ones teaching the basic skills the first couple of times to the class.  
  2. Use the lessons provided by Minecraft to present the expectations and objectives. I presented the prebuilt academic math worlds and set up the objectives of each.  Students helped me host the worlds and taught me alot about the different tools in the creative menus.  I then used Blend to share out rubrics for class specific builds that tied into the weeks lesson.
  3. Do not be afraid to make mistakes within the created maps.  My scholars loved to see me make mistakes and be honest about it. This set up SEL about accepting mistakes as a process and not failures. 

These simple steps really helped me have a fantastic experience with Minecraft that not only enriched the academic offerings in the class but also gave students more voice and choice in the classroom.  

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