Here’s the thing. Minecraft is huge. It’s amazing. It’s accessible and complex. Kids love it. I love it. Everyone who encounters Minecraft should love it. Mention that you’ll be doing something – anything – involving Minecraft and kids will pay attention. This is huge, because it’s much easier to engage with someone on a commonly shared interest than to try to force feed them stuff that – let’s be honest – neither of you are particularly passionate about.
So eighteen grade 4 students show up during their lunch break at River West Park School in Winnipeg. Terry Bunio and I are here to teach them some basic coding so as to influence the world of Minecraft. (quick disclosure – I am also learning to code). We have 6 laptops set up and ready to go, and 3 kids are placed around each laptop. Among other preliminaries we ask them to draw their favourite thing about Minecraft onto post-it notes with sharpies, just so we know what else we want to include in subsequent sessions. Also the drawings are really cool.
Terry delivers a quick overview of what we’ll do (today it’s build a creeper-proof house in 1 second), and they begin. The log into their server, look at the code for a while to see familiar terms. Then – of course -they launch the game and build their house by typing a line. All in it took 30 minutes to do this.
Now, not everything worked “perfectly”, but that’s the point. It’s not going to work every time. But what is great is that they wanted to fix the problems they encountered. They also wanted to keep going after the 30 minutes, and try out new things (e.g. flaming cow shooters, naming the flaming cows, etc.).
They are in grade 4, they are incredibly gifted, curious, and worth spending time with. Can’t wait for the next one.