Minecraft Lesson Plans

These are some of the sample lesson plans that my students created this semester in MIT517 – Gaming and Simulations. This was an in class activity that gave students the opportunity to play minecraft and then create a lesson plan using the game. These are student created. I am going to copy and paste one here and attach a few others.

Lesson 1

*others can be downloaded here: 1)  Game.based_Lesson.plan 2) LessonPlanActivity 3) MinecraftLesson:

Minecraft Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan/Title:   A North Carolina Colonial Minecraft Village

Concept: Students will use Minecraft to demonstrate visualization and reading comprehension skills in context of Colonial history

Grade Level: 5th grade

General Goals: Students will develop their writing skills and reading comprehension in the context of NC colonial history.

Specific Objectives:

A. Given the 5th grade Social Studies textbook chapter on Colonial NC villages and other online resources, 5th grade students will be able to work with a partner to write several paragraphs clearly describing a Colonial village that fellow students can accurately recreate in Minecraft.

B. Given another student’s written description of a NC colonial village, the student pairs will be able to accurately visualize and generate a Colonial village in Minecraft.

Required materials

1. 5th grade NC Social Studies textbook

2. pad of paper

3. pencil

4. computer

5. Minecraft software installed, in creative mode

5. Flash drive to store Minecraft model

7. Previous experience using Minecraft – students should all be familiar with basic operations and comfortable creating structures

Instructional Strategy

This activity utilizes a Problem-Based Learning approach. Teachers should introduce the problem, provide resources to students, and provide support and guidance during the process. Students will be given the following problem statement:

You and your partner are North Carolina historians. The Minecraft History Museum wants a digital model of a typical North Carolina village from the Colonial era to include in their Colonial display. You have been chosen to design this village for Minecraft experts to build. You need to describe a typical NC colonial village in 2-3 paragraphs. Your description will be the only communication you have with the Minecraft building experts, so you must be sure to write clearly.


Teacher guide

Students should be somewhat familiar with material related to NC Colonial villages and life. This would not be an introductory activity, but a reinforcing activity integrated with on reading comprehension and clear writing.

Divide into groups of two and give them the problem statement focused on writing a description of a NC Colonial village to be designed by fellow students to be placed in The Minecraft History Museum.

Students can use the chapter on NC Colonial villages in their Social Studies book along with web resources to write a detailed description of the village. Students may also choose to model their own village using Minecraft, by drawing, or by any other method of their choice.

The students should have between 1 and 2 hours to research and write.

They will then exchange their descriptions with another group and begin to construct the village in Minecraft based on the description written by the other group.

Groups should have about 2 hours to build the model.


Groups will receive feedback from peers and discuss with their groups. Then class will come back together for a group discussed facilitated by the teacher using the following questions:

1. How clear were the descriptions from the other group?

2. What did you find to be helpful in the descriptions?

3. What do you think could have been written to help you in building the village more accurately?

4. Let’s discuss colonial village life and how accurately we were able to really build it.


The teacher should show multiple examples of NC Colonial villages including Minecraft models, pictures, videos, etc. in order for students to understand how to assess if the written description is on topic and accurately describes a NC Colonial village. To assess the final products, groups will read the written descriptions and use the rubric below to grade the clarity of the description. Then groups will review the models and grade how well they follow the description using the rubric below. The teacher should also assess teamwork skills based on observations.

Written Description

Total Possible Points Yes No
Description is on topic (describes NC colonial village accurately) 20
Uses correct spelling and grammar 10
Describes at least 3 buildings 15
Number/ amount in a village 5
Color 5
One other style description 5
Stores or other building
Number/ amount in a village  5
Color 5
One other style description 5
Church or other building
Number/ amount in a village 5
Color 5
One other style description 5
Describes locations of the buildings relative to each other 10
Total 100


Total Possible Points Yes No
Includes all described buildings 50
Buildings are in the correct locations 10
Buildings are correct described color 10
Number of building types are correct 10
Any other buildings descriptions are followed  10
Does not include extra distracting items 10
Total 100



* 5th Grade Social Studies textbook Chapter 4: North Carolina Colonial Villages

* Pictures of Colonial Villages :


Should toddlers be on your phone or tablet?

Here is an article about this topic: http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/04/living/screen-free-week-schools-susan-linn/index.html?hpt=hp_bn11

Personally, we do not allow our 3 or 1 year old to use our devices. The reason why: We are scared they will break them. They do watch TV so I cannot say that is any better or worse than the tablet. Having said that, neither of our kids show any interest in our devices either. If they were interested it might be a different story but at this point they do not use them. My advice to parents is that technology can be good or bad – you just need to set limits and know what your children are doing. And this goes for everything, not just technology.

College Tuition

Complaining that college tuition is too high and going to a school that is 60k a year is like owning a ferrari and complaining that cars cost too much. Just as there are new cars for under 10k, there are colleges that cost around 40-50k for the entire 4 year degree.

30 Years of Mac

I still remember getting the first Mac and thinking it was awesome (I was 5 or 6 yrs old at the time). A desktop vs DOS/Unix was amazing. Here is a little site apple has put together highlighting their computer throughout the years: http://www.apple.com/30-years/

Amazon TV

Amazon TV was just announced yesterday. This device seems pretty cool. It has games, like minecraft, which is pretty nice (but its the android version). It also has amazon prime, which apple tv doesnt. It does not have hbogo though:( Here is a breakdown:

Amazon Fire
Amazon Fire TV
Roku 3
Roku 3
Apple TV
Apple TV
Google Chromecast
Google Chromecast
Pricing $99 $99 $99 $35
Form Factor Box Box Box Dongle that sticks into TV
HDMI Compatibility Yes Yes Yes Yes
Voice Commands Yes No No No
Processor Quad-core Dual-core Single-core Single-core
Memory 2 GB 512 MB 512 MB 512 MB
Video Apps Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Crackle, Showtime Anywhere, Bloomberg TV HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Crackle, Showtime Anywhere iTunes, Disney Anywhere, HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, YouTube, Bloomberg TV, WatchABC Google Play, HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, YouTube
Music Apps Vevo, Pandora, Vimeo Vevo, Pandora, Vimeo, Spotify Vevo, Vimeo, iTunes Google Play, Vevo, Pandora, Rdio, Songza
Sports Apps Watch ESPN, NBA League Pass Watch ESPN, NBA League Pass, MLB.TV, NHL Gamecenter, Major League Soccer Watch ESPN, NBA League Pass, MLB.TV, NHL Gamecenter None
Number of Games 100+; “thousands” more coming Less than 100 None None
Remote Voice search, physical remote (no line of sight needed) Physical remote, iOS app available Physical remote, iOS/Android app available (no line of sight needed) App controlled
Gaming Controller Yes; $39.99 (sold separately) No No No


Learn to teach online: Online Teaching and Learning (OT&L) Certificate from UNCW

If you are a teacher, professor, or corporate trainer, UNCW has put together an online teaching and learning certificate program that trains and prepares you to teach online.

Here is the official description. A link the program is here: http://www.uncw.edu/ed/mit/otlcertification.html

Program Description

The certificate program in Online Teaching and Learning (OT&L) will provide participants with a diversity of learning experiences. These include design, development, implementation, and management of online courses using various Learning Management Systems (LMS); design and delivery of synchronous learning environments and learning management systems; design and development of electronic, self-directed learning materials, and others. The program is designed to be flexible in order to remain current with developing technologies and delivery systems.

The intention for establishing this proposed graduate certificate program has been discussed with North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), Division of Instructional Technology. Although an official endorsement has not been established for K-12 educators yet, NCDPI has expressed its interest and support for the program and for considering Online Teaching and Learning endorsement for K-12 educators who will take the challenge of teaching online courses in their schools.

Until NCDPI officially establishes special endorsement for K-12 teachers who complete the certificate program, the licensed teachers who fulfill requirements of the program will receive Online Teaching and Learning professional certificate similar to other candidates from higher education, health, and other government agencies and business industries. By completing this certificate program, the licensed teachers and other candidates have required competencies for teaching online courses and managing online programs.

Certificate Program Objectives

The certificate program seeks to prepare professionals who have:

  1. Developed knowledge and skills of designing, developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating online learning environments and programs.
  2. Developed conceptual and practical understanding of principles of instructional design and effective online teaching.
  3. Demonstrated application of research-based, pedagogically effective learning strategies, appropriate organization of content, level of student engagement, differentiated learning, higher order thinking skills, and appropriate instructor-student and student-student interaction in the design of online learning environments.
  4. Demonstrated skills in integrating instructional design principles and procedures with multimedia technologies and course management tools to develop highly engaging and interactive online learning environments.
  5. Developed skills of planning, designing and incorporating strategies to encourage active learning, interaction, participation and collaboration in the online environment.
  6. Developed knowledge of legal, ethical, safe, and healthy behavior related to technology use.
  7. Developed knowledge and skills of designing, developing, delivering, and evaluating online learning environments and programs that are accessible for individuals with disabilities and are responsive to learners’ diversity and cultural differences.
  8. Demonstrated competencies in creating and implementing assessments in online learning environments in ways that assure validity and reliability of instruments and procedures.
  9. Demonstrated administrative skills in planning, launching, maintaining, and coordinating distance education programs.

UNCW MIT – Mobile App

The mobile app for my Master’s program is now available for Android here. The app was put together by two of our students via HTML. I then compiled the app via Adobe Phonegap. This is some of the cool stuff we are doing in our program!