E-STEM with Minecraft: Education Edition

I have to admit it took me a long time to succumb to the allure of Minecraft. I really didn’t understand what the fuss was about. Even more surprising than my conversion was what brought me around: Minecraft’s educational value. I’m late to the party; the educational potential of the game was so obvious to many that a new version called Minecraft: Education Edition was first released in 2016.  In other good news, Minecraft: Education Edition is now available to anyone, since Microsoft removed the requirement that users have a school account in 2020. Minecraft engages many students in ways traditional lessons don't, and now environmental educators have access to the world of Minecraft.

Educators (both formal and informal) who venture into Minecraft territory will find lots of ready-to-go lesson plans and curricular tools. Here are two that are of particular interest to our E-STEM community:

Global Build Challenge: Peace with Nature

Minecraft and UNESCO released a global build competition to design sustainable solutions to help communities live in harmony with nature. Students are encouraged to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals in their builds. The Challenge’s landing page includes a curriculum guide, virtual field trips and a step-by-step guide to joining the challenge. Competition submissions are due November 19, but the curriculum will be available for use at any time.

Sustainability City

This bundle of seven lesson plans explores recycling, sustainable food production, building sustainable homes, alternative energy and sustainable forestry. It even includes a toolkit to run a sustainability-themed build challenge.

Getting Started

There are lots of resources to help get you up to speed with Minecraft: Education Edition and how to use it in your educational endeavors. Minecraft: Education Edition’s homepage and this guide in the Community Hub are great places to start.