Minecraft Education Edition can be used to teach many 21st century skills outside of standard curriculum documents. Empathy is a powerful skill for our students to develop and projects like the "Extreme Minecraft Makeover Home Edition" help!
In this project my students randomly draw a scenario involving a Minecraftia family who have experienced difficult setbacks or barriers in life. Students are presented with some information about the family's hardships, interests, members and other pertinent details. Minecraftia families like "The Enderson Family" below are introduced with this information and a family picture or two.
Every family in Minecraftia has a story that tugs at the heart strings. Students genuinely want to help these families and critically and creatively design solutions to help. Some families may have lost their jobs (Librarian and Blacksmith) and with many kids in the family they need a larger space to live. Others have suffered injuries (Creeper Explosion or Spider Bites) and need homes that consider accessibility. Allergies, fears, loss of jobs, crowded homes, aging in-laws, and physical or mental illnesses as seen with "Steve Sr." below plague the village and students must design Homes and Surrounding Amenities in a charitable way to help these families.
The homes students build are only limited by their creativeness. With this unlimited budget project terraforming and the finest materials are all covered through charitable donations from Minecraftia Corporations such as "Acacia Hardware." Students can focus on what really matters and that is listening to their families and providing them a solution that makes their lives easier in an enjoyable way. The homes that can be built are incredible. Fenced in security yards, access ramps, novel bathroom design, large pathways throughout the home and other accomodations really help. Take a look at these potential dream homes.
Students create their own marking criteria when they determine what solutions best fit the family and then set out to provide these solutions. Much like a science teacher would assess the scientific method, teachers should be looking for evidence of critical thinking, creativity, communication skills, collaboration (when allowed) and of course empathy. Developing the tremendous citizens of tomorrow is in part the responsibility of the school system and through projects like The Extreme Minecraft Makeover Home Edition we can say we are doing our part to help. Consider running your own version of this engaging and important project and I would love to see/hear how it went via Twitter or email!
I'm an experienced Global Minecraft Mentor, Published Educational Researcher, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Apple Distinguished Educator and grade 6-12 technology teacher. @BBTNB