Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Is Simplicity The Key?

The more I use MinecraftEdu for teaching, the more I come to realise that it is the simple maps that demonstrate a specific concept, or those that allow the students to experiment are the most powerful. I still think that the initial neurotransmitter lesson is one of the most powerful learning experiences I have ever delivered. So is the contour maps lesson and the solids, liquids and gases demonstration. I think, with the help of sswe903 on youtube, that we may have a couple more great conceptual and experimentation maps coming up.

One is on experimental probability. The part designed to teach students the concept was designed and built by sswe903 and he was kind enough to share it with me. After seeing what he has created, and some of the shortcomings I have designed an add on activity to allow the students to use experimental probability to estimate unknown probabilities in game.

The other map is on gravity. One of the upcoming topics I am teaching is Forces, and this includes gravity. As I was discussing this with sswe903 I had a thought, why couldn't we measure gravity in Minecraft. Performing experiments and using our results to discuss real life gravity and some of the limitations of our experiment.

This is the video I recorded talking about these 2 maps. I am really beginning to think that simple maps that focus on a specific concept are the way for me to move forward. Perhaps linking all of these together into a learning sequence is a job for me in the future.


  1. Elfie,

    According to this really nice video blocks don't accelerate so you can't use freefall to calculate g.

    Using the equations of motion (s=ut+1/2at^2) gravity in MC is calculated to be 18 blocks per second per second.


    1. Thanks Dan, we have been exploring what 'lies' there are about gravity in Minecraft. We focused on the idea that the 'humans' in Minecraft fall faster than blocks of sand and gravel.