On November 19th, M@M followed its current curricular format: introduce a science topic within Minecraft, experience the topic for real within a Museum exhibit hall, and then critique the Minecraft version as a designed science learning experience. But this time, however, we had a special Museum exhibit to leverage – our new Power of Poison temporary exhibit that had opened just days earlier.
So first we taught them all about the many varied and creative ways poison operates in Minecraft, first through this video created by Joel Levin and then by inviting them in to explore the custom poison map it features:
Then we left the classroom and headed to the Power of Poison entrance, where we met exhibit curator and AMNH scientist Mark Siddall. Mark introduced the exhibit, took us on a tour, and highlighted many aspects of the exhibit that related to what they just experienced in Minecraft. Here are a few photos:
(more photos from their visit to the exhibit can be seen here).
Then, back to the classroom, where they had under 20 minutes (it was just an exercise) to work as a team to build something in Minecraft to teach something they learned in the exhibit. It was remarkable to see how fast they were able to work as a team, identify a focus for their project, and then execute. I picked a few of the teens to give us tours of their group’s project.
First up, the International Center for Poison Detection, a research laboratory documenting poisons within Minecraft and testing their effects on lab subjects (pigs and spiders):
The second is The Poison Lab, a secret underwater repository (featuring a sign at the entrance greeting visitors with “Welcome to the top secret lab you’re not allowed to know about”) explaining Minecraft vs real world poisons:
I am tempted to throw some quick analysis around all this but, instead, I am going to hold back, just share some fun photos, and let you come to your own conclusions about how the youth were able to synthesize their Minecraft and AMNH exhibit experiences to produce their own unique amalgamation.
©AMNH Photos: Roderick Mickens/Barry Joseph