Building an empire together

Students+play+Minecraft+during+the+class.

A Plus

Students play Minecraft during the class.

Jared Elder, Jayden Weathersbee, and Nithin Danday

Last year, fifth and sixth grade students at Jesuit High School’s Junior Academics Plus Program created a Japanese pagoda temple in it’s relatively new Minecraft class.

Minecraft is a sandbox game where players use their creativity to build and survive in a block-like realm. Mr. Jason Iverson, the Jr. Academics Plus Minecraft teacher, used Minecraft in the classroom three years ago for a Social Studies class. He wanted to teach them to build a model American colony.

“The first thing that they did was run off and build their own houses, and so everybody started dying because they didn’t have any food,”  Mr. Iverson said. “So then what happened was that they started having to work together. So then they formed small groups and then all of those small groups formed larger groups.”

They started to work together as a group, and they decided what to create. Minecraft also teaches students how to problem solve. Minecraft is a very vast game with unlimited possibilities, which makes it helpful to teachers who want students to understand concepts through simulations and work together to reach a common goal.

“Sometimes [the students] get frustrated if another student comes over with  an Invisibility Potion to cause trouble, plant TNT and destroy buildings,” Mr. Iverson said. “If this happens to the builder, they will go over to and talk to the person, instead of getting mad and throwing a fit and crying about it. They seem to be acting more maturely.”