Design and Technology activities and courses have helped students begin with an enthusiastic start to the new school year. Last week, students in Grade 4 were excited to find out they were going to be using Minecraft in class as they continued to delve into their IPC Space unit. Students were asked why games and simulations might be used for learning about space. They discussed that exploring space is a dangerous and expensive endeavor, so using open-ended simulation programs to design and test a hypothesis or prototype would be a good option to share their ideas and better see the feasibility of possible solutions.
Students were presented with a Mars mission simulation where they had to think about our essential needs. With the help of Minecraft Education Edition, they imagined landing on a new planet and needed to build a shelter before Mars’ drastic nighttime temperatures dropped below -150℃ and froze them!
Students teamed up to plan and build their shelters. Afterward, they shared their rationale for using different materials and architectural details along with their future plans for the survival of a colony. Space X might be recruiting these future scientists and engineers for colonizing missions yet unknown! Minecraft Education Edition offers models of the International Space Station and other structures and planets so students can virtually tour and sometimes even redesign what they explore. Options of 3D printing models created in the program also gives our students the opportunity to see ideas that they plan and design take shape. The Education Edition of Minecraft also allows students to explore compounds testing combinations of elements, look at the physical structure of atoms, and break down complex matter into its elements. Look out for other grade levels and classes to explore the possibilities of learning through Minecraft soon!