Minecraft and the Human Microbiome

“Now, everyone walk into the head and then teleport to the stomach…” and so begins the the second and final summer week of the the Minecraft & Human Microbiome program here at the American Museum of Natural History. For the past six days, 14 students have been using Minecraft to take a deep dive into several of the themes and concepts presented in the temporary exhibit, the Secret World Inside You.

How?

In a Minecraft map custom-made to resemble a human body, of course! Once in this map youth in the program are exploring the diversity of microbes across the human body, role-played as white blood cells and antibiotics to protect the body from foreign invaders, and more.

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The human body Minecraft Map, created by folks at TeacherGaming.

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A view from inside the arm.

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The digestive system.

During this second week of the program the youth are spending the majority of their time designing and building activities that focus on a microbial topic of their choosing. Trips to the exhibit, visits to Microbiology Labs, and feedback from scientists and their peers will all be incorporated into their designs before the summer portion of the program comes to an end this Friday.

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Building community values.

In the fall, the youth will develop YouTube-bound Let’s Play videos and other educational resources to accompany this microbial Minecraft world. For us as educators, we are also excited to have the opportunity to understand the impact Minecraft has in informal science learning.

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The youth plot out who is going to build interactive microbial experiences in which part of the body/island.

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