Alien Exploration in Minecraft: Education Edition


The Overview

The learners have completed a long journey through space to colonise a distant planet.  As they awaken from cryogenic storage they are faced with the task of sustaining life on their new but hostile home with very limited resources.

The Learning

Designed to be as open ended as possible to allow teachers to customise the outcomes to suit their own curriculum needs.  The immersion within the storyline is the hook into whatever learning you want to explore.  Initial research links are embedded within the map.  It is far from perfect and is designed as a platform from which you can build lessons, projects and ideas and can be easily adapted to meet global curriculum outcomes.   Here’s five ideas to get you started:

  1. Research sustainable living on extra-terrestrial environments. Demonstrate the learning by building a sustainable living solution which meets all of the basic needs of humans to enable the group to survive on this hostile planet.  Document it with the camera app, create a Mix guiding a visitor around the solution or invite other groups to test your solution to see if they can survive.  Careful resource management as well as negotiation skills will be needed for the group to move from surviving to thriving.

Suggested Curriculum Links:  Science, Maths, English (Language Arts), Design Technology, Digital Literacy, 21st Century Learning Skills

  1. Explore the issues surrounding native and settler groups. Research three different examples of settlers coming into contact with native peoples and explore the learning by recreating the situation on the alien planet.  Learners could create an indigenous race of aliens (building their homes, meeting spaces, statues, art work etc) and role play what happens when the two groups meet.  Use Modern Foreign Language skills to recreate the first meeting of settlers with indigenous peoples.

Suggested Curriculum Links: History, Geography, Humanities, Art, Citizenship, MFL

  1. Use Maths skills to manage the resources of the group efficiently. Work out the most efficient shape, layout and configuration for an exploration shelter that the group can take with them when exploring the planet.  Calculate the ratio of consumed resources to how quickly they can be replenished.  Create a currency system with a trade value for use in interactions with native groups.

Suggested Curriculum Links: Math, Science, Engineering, Business Skills, 21st Century Learning

  1. Compare the planet to Earth and theorise its potential to sustain life, long term. How many features are like Earth?  What is it lacking?  Map the terrain and features to document geographically similar and different landscape features.  Complete a scientific journal to document and record any experiments undertaken by the group.  Study the anatomy of the human body to establish needs of a human surviving in a hostile environment.

Suggested Curriculum Links: Geography, Science, English (Language Arts), Physical Education, Digital Literacy

  1. Create and capture the story of the group from waking to thriving. Role play the entire scenario without breaking the immersion.  Give yourself the “Hal” (from “2001 A Space Odyssey”) super computer role to use in shaping and guiding the learning.  Create the native poems and songs for the indigenous peoples; create the constitution/charter by which the settlers will live; create video diaries to be uploaded and beamed back to earth.

Suggested Curriculum Links: English (Language Arts), History, Media, Digital Literacy, 21st Century Learning

What next?

Download the map and explore.  Use it in a lesson, a project or just as a spring board for something completely different.  Then simply send me a quick summary (nothing more than the five I have included above) and let’s see if we can crowd source 20 different learning ideas for this one map.  If you build on, develop and/or create other areas, please export the world and send it to us ( so that we can share as many ideas as possible, as far and wide as possible.

How could YOU use the environment in YOUR classroom?

Download the Map here


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