The Minecraft EVO MOOC is starting next week – registration is open now! – and the course is open to teachers with little or no experience of using the game with students or playing it. In recognition of that, I am reposting this lesson plan, which is designed to help teachers introduce Minecraft into their classrooms by exploiting the different levels of game-playing experience there are likely to be in the classroom.
If you find this plan useful, please like and share. As always, your feedback and comments are welcome!
This digital game-based learning ELT lesson plan makes use of the popular sandbox game Minecraft. It requires no little previous knowledge of the game (in fact, the less you know, the more authentic the experience will be) and can be done without access to the game itself. It involves reversing traditional classroom roles as the students take the lead in teaching their teacher.
Available on: PC/MAC, consoles, and on mobile devices as Minecraft Pocket Edition
Official Website: https://minecraft.net/
Suitable for: Young Learners (7-late teens); adults interested in gaming
Language level: A2 and up
Target language: Imperatives; suggestions and advice with can, should, must
Main task: Students prepare and share advice for novices to the game
- Ask your students whether or not they play Minecraft. Get them talking about why they do/don’t play and find out some basic information like the aim of the game and the different modes of play (survival and creative).
- Divide the class into two groups of those who play Minecraft on a regular basis and those who don’t (depending on the size of your class, you may wish to further divide these groups to manage numbers more easily).
- Tell the group of experienced players you want to learn more about the game and you would like their help. Task them with compiling instructions/advice for ‘How to Survive your First Day in Minecraft’ (the language can be adapted here to the level of the students – simple imperatives for lower levels or more detailed advice and suggestions for higher levels).
- Meanwhile, work with the students who rarely play or don’t play at all and brainstorm questions to ask about how to play the game and how to survive. Work mainly with this group but spare time to drop in on the other group to monitor and check progress.
- Invite the Minecraft players to present their advice and instructions. The other group should listen and make notes. At the end of the presentation, direct the audience group to ask any of their questions which remain unanswered, again taking notes for the answers.
- Based on the previous lesson stage, focus on the language used for instructions and advice and go over any common mistakes.
- Each group will now use the information from the presentation to write up a series of instructions for Minecraft novice players. The experienced group can present their steps while the novice group can turn their questions and notes into a FAQ-style text.
- Optional extension A: After checking the texts, give the students some time to create posters adding in visuals from the game or have them post their texts on the class blog.
- Optional extension B: Instead of just giving regular feedback on their writing, go ahead and play the game outside of class following their instructions. In the next class, give them feedback on how it went.
My students have always enjoyed this lesson for two reasons: they get to talk about Minecraft; and they get to teach the teacher! This involves not only the power of utilising something the learners are interested in to increase engagement and motivation, but also the power of giving the students control of the learning process and creating a genuine need for communication.
If you have the opportunity to use Minecraft in class, this is also a great way to find out how well your students know the game. It also provides a strong foundation for the first in-game lesson as the novice players can try out the advice given to them and/or they can be paired with more experienced players for a collaborative learning experience.
If you like this plan, please share it with your colleagues and through your social media networks.
If you use or adapt this plan in class, please leave feedback through the comments section or contact page on https://eltsandbox1.wordpress.com/
This post originally appeared at http://eltsandbox.weebly.com/blog/-learning-to-learn-with-minecraft-dgbl-elt-lesson-plan in April, 2016