Teach Through Play: Minecraft

I intend to use the Teach Through Play series to provide ideas on how teachers can educate through games. In this blog post I want to talk about teaching history through Minecraft.

Minecraft is an interesting game. Most popular games rely on action. Minecraft relies on a creative mind. The creative minds who play Minecraft have come up with many things. From simple block houses…


to historical monuments…


to small towns…



to large (sometimes unusual) cities!



To me, this game presents a golden opportunity to teach. The lesson (on the students behalf) could be this simple: Go explore and tell me what you find.

Imagine, as a student, being told to explore a pyramid like this one.



Once inside, students could encounter the many chambers tucked away in the pyramid. After allowing students to explore on their own terms, the teacher could ask questions like, “What surrounded the king’s sarcophagus in his burial chamber?” Or “Did you see hieroglyphics? What were they depicting?”

I want to make my point short and sweet: video games (like Minecraft) can allow students to explore historic content in ways text books and videos cannot. The Egyptian pyramids are just one example. Students could traverse Mesopotamian city states, Mayan ziggurats, the Roman Coliseum, an Industrial Revolution tenement and more. Minecraft adds educational value to a curriculum by giving students new ways to connect with history.

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