I was first introduced to the idea of using Minecraft in the classroom by Lee Parkinson. There are some fantastic ideas on his blog http://mrparkinsonict.blogspot.co.uk for using Minecraft in the classroom.
The Year 5 teachers at my school asked me to teach the children about the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids during my time with them. I scratched my head to think of how I could do this in different way. I wanted to avoid the standard – research then make a powerpoint- type lesson. I found a couple of websites that offered virtual tours of the inside and outside of the Great Pyramids. In fact, you can walk around the pyramid site using Google Streetview. Having looked at these websites with the children and discussed the answers to some key questions, the children were armed with some knowledge about how the pyramids were built and what was contained inside them.
We then moved into Minecraft where the children designed and built their own pyramids following a similar process to that of the Ancient Egyptians. Next, they considered what should go inside and added burial chambers etc. The children were totally immersed in their task and worked well in pairs to iron out any difficulties in the construction process. The results were stunning.
We didn’t leave it there. The children took screenshots of the exterior of their pyramids and imported these into the Thinglink app. Finally, added labels which consisted of information they had learnt about the pyramids and further images of their own pyramids.
I have used a similar approach to learn about Stone Henge with Year 3 and Anne Frank’s house with Year 6.