Thinking Space - MinecraftEd

Basic Skills to Master
Challenges n00bs
Challenges Intermediate
Challenges Experienced Minecrafters
Potential Village Problems
Ground Rules
Teacher Challenges
Student Crafted Examples
Mini Lessons
More to Consider
Related Resources


  • Watch tutorial videos - 1 class period to watch 2-3 (suggest those interested can watch the others for "homework")
  • Explore Minecraft - 4 class periods
  • Teacher Challenge(s) - 3 class periods
  • Group Designed Challenge - 4 class periods
  • Reflection & Wiki Development- 3 class periods
    • Create a how to page (using screenshots or screencasts)
    • Add a question and answer to the FAQ page
    • Reflect on how you would Mod the game

Basic Skills to Master

  • How to move (W, A, S, D, and space)
  • Harvest and place blocks
  • How to craft
    • Crafting table
    • Wood planks
    • Torches
    • Pickaxe
    • Shovel
    • Sword
    • Furnace
    • Coal
    • Door
    • Bed
    • Chest
    • Food (apples, melons, chicken, pig, steak/cow)
    • Bucket
    • Axe
  • How to access your inventory
  • Create a "hidey-hole" and later a house
  • How to defend yourself from Creepers, Zombies, Spiders, Skeletons, etc.)

Challenges - N00bs

  • Make a shelter ("hidey-hole")
  • Survive your first night
  • Explore a cave or mine and survive
  • Find and mine iron ore

Challenges - Intermediate

  • Make a bow and arrow (not just find them)
  • Make a house with furniture and more
  • Self sustaining farm or create a community garden
  • Make a mineor quarry
    • Find diamonds, emeralds, and lapis lazuli
  • Get a pet dog and/or cat
  • Get lost and find your way back to your shelter without a beacon
  • Make a location beacon
  • Trade with NPCs
  • Create a map of your world
  • Make enchantment table
  • Create a floating house
  • Make anvil
  • Get xp

Challenges - Experienced Minecrafters

  • Brew a potion
  • Enchant items
  • Design your own, but check in with your teacher before starting
  • Build and share a challenge world for others (Adventure mode)

Potential Problems

How will your village deal with them?
  • being destructive with another’s work
  • hoarding objects
  • not following directions

Ground Rules

  • Teacher Rules

    • No griefing (killing, setting on fire, etc.)
    • No taking materials from someone
    • Only use your assigned server
    • Do not use school accounts at home (I will usually be changing the passwords anyway). You can purchase your own accounts from
  • Team Rules

    What rules should there be? Why? Can you word them positively?


  • Group skills
    • Establishing norms through consensus
    • Sharing - goods, skills, space - virtual and real world collaboration
    • Achieving an interdependent goal in a virtual space - Possibly working as a cross-functional team
    • Empathy-inducing examinations of different points of view
    • Self-efficacy
    • Negotiation
    • Conflict resolution
    • Empathy
    • Leadership
    • Peer to peer teaching
  • Math
    • Spatial Visualization
  • Science & Social Studies
    • Understanding connections between raw materials and tools
    • Models of complex systems that players learn to manipulate
  • Habits of Mind
    • Creativity
    • Problem-solving
    • Drive for improvement
    • Reflection
  • Language Arts
    • Speaking/Presenting - each pair of students leads the class tip of the day or answers a FAQs
    • Written Communication
      • Writing a step-by-step tutorial
      • Writing and answering a faq
  • Learning to learn, learning about learning
    • Learn by doing
    • Learn from small failures
    • Learn from videos
    • Learn from partners
  • Architecture

Teacher Challenge(s)

  • Make a hidey-hole and survive 2 days and 2 nights
  • Early American Village - Imagine you are a group of 3 or 4 families, moving west from an established town to start your own. Create a village that includes: simple 1 or 2 room homes with a family farm, a common meeting place (building), and a public commons for your animals. Given enough time, you might consider adding paths, a school, a store, fences/gates, a mine, etc. Try starting from seed number -3414234582187284145.
    • What else does a small farm need? A small town?
    • What would a slightly larger town have?
  • Come up with roles for each pair (farmer, security, carpenter/contractor, miner, etc.)
  • Many possible options to modify here from Massively Minecraft

Student Crafted Examples

Mini Lessons

  • Opening Minecraft from C:Drive
  • Creating New World & Opening to LAN
  • Joining a LAN world
  • Host computer logging out last
  • Question - How can your village work better so everyone can succeed?
  • Question - Interdependence - How will your group work interdependently today?
  • Question - Skills - What skill will each of you try to master today?
  • Question - Problem-solving - What problems has your group faced? How did you solve them? What's one you haven't solved? How might you address it today?
  • Question - "Rules" - What rules or guidelines have your groups been following as you explore/learn?
  • More questions - Check out the Documentation & Reflection Prompts

More To Consider

  • Analyze the "rules" of the game - how realistic are they - such as needing ore and wood for a sword - watch the Thomas Thwaites video on building a toaster
    • Have them make paper from scratch - then have each group figure out something else they can make from scratch and do it - then have them make a list of what they would need and need to know to make something as basic as a pencil from scratch


  • In survival mode, the game will provide immediate feedback
  • Their partners and fellow villagers will provide informal feedback
  • Each session will start with a reflection question designed to get the village discussing their progress and methods
  • Each village could create a short rubric or checklist for their group designed challenge
  • Optional - use elements from the teamwork rubric

Related Resources

Discussion Area