Year 9 Minecraft Challenge


Yesterday I joined the Year 9 students and teachers to view a battle fought between 9A and 9B on the Minecraft battlefield. In recognition of National Science Week, the task involved the students being transported to a random biome and then directed to invent a new animal within that biome. They needed to consider the environment they were in and what adaptation the animal would have in order to live effectively within that biome. The biome was not disclosed to the students until the launch of the challenge.

Students were divided by homegroup. One homegroup undertook the 'build' task on a set time of 10 minutes, while the other homegroup observed via Science teacher, Declan Sega's webex screen that he shared. He was like a pilot, hovering as an administrator/host above the students undertaking the build task so that the viewers could see appropriately. The voices of the team being observed could be heard; their problem-solving ideas, collaborative engagement and at times, frustration or puzzlement. It was a wonderful experience to see and hear the students' thinking plus the high degree of problem-solving skills that were evident.

Students were in 2 groups: builders and directors. The builders were able to enter via minecraft. Their role was to build the animal based on the biome which was a sandy desert. The director students were observing on webex, unable to get on to minecraft. They observed from the building above, having notes as a reference and directing their team to include as many scientifically accurate attributes to the animal as possible. They were also expected to work with the builders to create an overview of the animal's behaviours, diets and any other relevant traits. When time was up, students from one homegroup exited the work and students from the next world entered. Teachers judged the winners based on scientific reasoning and justification of their species within their ecosystem, design, strong work ethic and collaboration. The challenge brought out the competitor spirit in the students but the rivalry was friendly!

In the end, 9B were the victors! Honourable mentions goes to Jessie and Carmelynn of 9A for their excellent scientific contributions and leadership during their design and building.