The Legacy of Minecraft

When I first started teaching 11 or so years ago, I would sometimes ask my class to draw boxes in their exercise books for a game of bingo or to make a cartoon strip.

Then I would spend five or ten minutes supporting a significant minority with sectioning off equal areas. In the end, I gave up and made templates that I could hand out to students just to get past that one problem.

The other day, I gave my class the task of making a comic strip about what we were learning. And then two minutes later, they had divided their A3 paper into halves lengthwise, and then thirds or fourths or fifths or sixths widthwise. They did this without any issues. Some did it by eye, some measured it off with a ruler. All of them did it without asking for help, complaining it was hard or physically folding the paper (my go-to strategy at that age). I don’t have a class of spatial awareness geniuses by the way, they’re regular 11 year old kids.

Except, they also spend hours of their free time dividing things into thirds or fourths or fifths or sixths. They take time to measuring things out. It’s all coming from Minecraft.

If you want to build something that looks nice: you need to have this ability and if you don’t already have it, you practice until you do. And they have and now they can all do it without worries. I was so pleased, the very next lesson the main activity was making a model of an animal cell in Minecraft and showing the class.

Now I really want to set up my own server.

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