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Minecraft - What's the educational fuss?

Understanding Minecraft

 

Minecraft might not be as evil as you think. Many parents and teachers are scratching their heads about this Minecraft obsession that has taken over many households and the minds of young ones, but there's more behind those blocks and the creepers.

As an adult and teacher, I want to shed some light on how exactly Minecraft might be doing more for kids than you realise, and how you can utilise it to your advantage and get them showing you what they know!

Where creation is almost without limits.

What is Minecraft and why are kids obsessed with it?


Minecraft is a simple but vast game that allows children to play the way that interests them.

  • Children that love building or creating build structures (much like virtual lego).
  • Children interested in tinkering and designing working structures play with redstone contraptions.
  • Some children enjoy the 'survival' aspect - starting from scratch, mining, building, farming, surviving.
  • Then we have children that enjoy the battle and survival aspects relating to monsters and other rival players.

It appeals to a wide range of children.

All they seem to do it kill things or mindlessly dig and place blocks!


It may seem like this but there is far more going on than you realise. Your children are learning and absorbing mathematical concepts without even realising it - and some are quite complex. You can use their enthusiasm to your advantage and also find a new way for them to show you what they know. The best example I can think of to explain this further is my brother. He was never great at maths and struggled at school - he hated school because it was tainted with stress. My brother is a pro darts player. He can calculate complex number problems in his head quicker than the average person when it applies to darts. Demonstrating an understanding can be easy or hard depending on the context and the mode of delivery.

What math skills are they actually using?


HEAPS! Let me give you some examples of what is done and can be done with Minecraft.

building redstone WE

Ok, so I know that without much knowledge of Minecraft much of what I've said won't make any sense. The terminology I use and my knowledge of the game comes from years of playing and managing servers. Being an adult, mum and teacher gives me a very unique perspective when playing the game and allows me to identify the potential that children are oblivious to. If you tap into their interest and learn as much as you can about the game, you won't regret it. Setting simple homework tasks that they can complete in Minecraft (or in another form if it suits them better) is a fantastic way to engage them.
By now you're probably wondering... what would a female adult see in a game like Minecraft? Building, creating and designing soothes me - it takes me to another place and allows me the chance to rest my worrying and thinking mind. I'm hoping you can at least find some value in what I know and have learned :)
Thanks for reading! Michelle

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