Aussie Science Teachers - it's your time to shine in Minecraft: Education Edition!
With the recent introduction of the Chemistry Update for Minecraft: Education Edition, there has been no better time to expose your Chemistry students to a new dimension of learning. Discover the building blocks of matter, combine elements into useful compounds and Minecraft items, and conduct amazing experiments with new lessons and a downloadable worlds from the Minecraft: Education Edition Community.
With a global focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in schools, the Minecraft Education Team have been inspired to integrate Chemistry features and functions into Minecraft: Education Edition. In this update, students can experiment with materials using the Lab Table, Compound Creator and Element Constructor. These features offer a new space to inquire, through questioning and predicting, planning and conducting their own safe chemistry investigations in Minecraft.
"The Minecraft Education Team utilised advisors from Secondary and University Chemistry Educators and Chemical Engineers to represent accurate science while also creating engaging in-game experiences for learners." Neal Manegold, Director, Minecraft Education
So how does this stack up in the Australian Context?
In Australian Science classrooms, students will navigate, discover and learn science through Science Inquiry, Science Understanding and Science as a Human Endeavour. Minecraft: Education Edition and the new Chemical Update can support Australian Science teachers and engage students across three of these key ideas of the Australian Science Curriculum.
Chemistry in Minecraft allows teachers to introduce chemistry concepts without the costs of lab equipment in the engaging Minecraft world that will inspire more girls and boys to explore the subject. The Chemical Science Resource Pack found at the Minecraft Educator Community is a great place to start. It provides a number of predesigned lesson plans and downloadable worlds to support students in developing their understanding of key Chemistry ideas that can applied to the real world.
Safety in the Science Lab:
In Australian schools students are typically introduced to 'real' chemistry labs when they start Secondary school. When inquiring in science and planning/conducting investigations, safety and risk assessments are of the highest priority. Students in a Chemistry lesson are at a higher risk of danger and we certainly don't want our students learning from their mistakes.
Immerse your students in a fun and engaging Minecraft world where learning about science safety and safe lab practices and protocols. The Minecraft Science Lab will have students presented with a lab filled with dangers (from water on the floor, poisons lets on surfaces and edible materials out in the open). Working collaboratively in the Chemistry Lab students can use Chalk Boards to design safety protocols and create safe workspaces before conducting their science experiments.
10 x chemistry lessons in one Minecraft World - starting with creating a safe science lab. Download the world and start creating a safe chemistry lab here.
Planning & Conducting Scientific Investigations:
When planning and conducting scientific investigations, from Year 3 to Year 10 students are deciding variables to be changed and measured in fair tests, and observe measure and record data using digital technologies (ACSIS055). Students can use the new Minecraft Lab Table to design fair tests and observe, measure and collect data. Have your students use Minecraft blocks to create visual representation of their findings, take a snap shot using the in-game camera/portfolio tools to process and analyse their data, evaluate their evidence and communicate their findings using a range text types and modes (ACSIS110)
Exploration in Minecraft can lead students to developing big questions around Chemistry, Biology and Physics. When creating in Minecraft students build a broad set of integrated thinking skills through experimentation and play, trial and error, testing and hypothesising, analysis and evaluation. The scientific Method consists of a continuous cycle and through The Scientific Method lesson, students will design experiments in Minecraft and keep accurate records.
In Chemistry, we help student make connections between the composition and behaviour of substances and how new substances are produced. They build an understanding that all natural and synthetic materials are composed of chemicals, be they elements, molecules or compounds. Matter in our world can be categorised into states of matter and changes in state can be reversible and irreversible.
States of Matter:
In year 5, students understand how solids, liquids and gases have different observable properties and behave in different ways (ACSSU077). What is the World Made of? is a Minecraft lesson that can help students understand natural and synthetic objects are all made of elements and chemicals can be made from natural resources. Through Minecraft students can explore liquids, solids and gases and use the Material Reducer to expose what Minecraft Materials and Matter is made out of. The Material Reducer reduces a block to its component elements, providing a useful way to explore the elements that make up our environment.
Chemical Compounds and Mixtures:
In Year 8, students will explore properties of different states of matter (ACSSU151) and explain the differences between elements, compounds and mixtures (ACSSU152). Use the Compound Creator and the outline in the Properties of Matter lesson found at http://education.minecraft.net encourages students to experiment by combine elements into over 30 compounds.
Elements and Isotopes:
The Element Constructor is one of the new crafting tools included in the Chemistry Resource Pack. In Year 9 students develop a deeper understanding of atom structure and the composed of protons, neutrons and electrons (ACSSU177). In Minecraft, Students can use the Elements Constructor to build 118 elements based on the number of protons, neutrons and electrons.
For a full list of elements and isotopes available in Minecraft: Education Edition click here.
The Periodic Table:
The Chemistry Update allows students to build their own periodic table or use their imagination to come up with a new way to arrange the elements based on the elements characteristics.
Endless Experiments and a world of science ready to be created:
Minecraft: Education Edition is not just a game. It's a platform that can ignite curiosity and have students critically think to solve complex problems and make connections to what they learn with the real world. The only limited is your imagination.
Your Windows 10 version of Minecraft Education Edition will automatically update to include the chemistry features, and for MacOS, please head to Education.minecraft.net to get the latest update.
Get started and try out the new Chemistry Update for Minecraft: Education Edition now!
Download your free copy of the Minecraft: Education Edition LAB guide: https://education.minecraft.net/wp-content/uploads/ChemistryLab_Journal.pdf