The 2nd Month of Minecraft at the Museum: Poison, Food, Biomes, and More

When I last posted about our first month of Minecraft at the Museum (see: The 1st Month of Minecraft at the Museum: Geology, Sustainability, & Dinosaurs) we were just underway. Led by Rebecca Saunders and Teacher Gaming’s Joel Levin (with E-Line Media’s Katya Hott), our second month in November continued the format – compare science in Minecraft with science in the real world – and began the early steps of the teens working to create their own Minecraft science learning experiences.

Session 6 was a great flash from the past (even if the past was just last January). Although our great Our Global Kitchen exhibit has since moved on, we used Election Day to recreate the exhibit-based day-long activity that inspired the launch of this very program: FoodCraft. In short, the teens experienced the process of producing and processing food in Minecraft, learned about it in the real world, and then returned to Minecraft to apply their new knowledge and expanded it with the introduction of international trade. (Since the exhibit was not available, Laurie Freyer, who worked on the show, spoke with the teens about the content). Below shows the final moments, as they raced to produce and deliver enough food to feed their village.

In the first, you hear “I got the cookies! I got the pumpkins!” as he runs to get it into the marketplace:

In the second you hear “Run! Run!” and the count down to the exciting end of the day:

As you can hear, they all had a great time, and learned a lot.

Session 7 took the youth back out into the halls, exploring how humans have built their houses in response to their natural environment. They then returned to Minecraft to build their own (some making replicas of what they saw in the halls).

Sessions 8 and 9 began a shift in the program, from maps created by us to servers hosted on their own computers, as the youth began to take over the world (or, rather, worlds) and learned more advance Minecraft skills.

Session 10 I already wrote about (see: Minecraft at the Museum Session 10: The Power of Poison), so check it out, and, in case you don’t, here’s a great example of one of the things they built:

From Session 11 on, the teens got into three groups to spent a number of sessions going deep into their own new science learning build. They talked about topics in anthropology, astrophysics, paleontology, biology, and earth sciences. To find out which they picked, and how they built something in Minecraft to teach it, come back next month when I report about December in Minecraft at the Museum.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention – the good folks from Mojang, the creators of Minecraft, stopped by to say hi, on their way back home after Minecon in Florida. You can see below how the teens felt about that.

(view more photos from the month here).

About Barry

The Associate Director For Digital Learning, Youth Initiatives at the American Museum of Natural History.
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