One tool that has proven immensely effective in classrooms across the globe is Minecraft.

By using the game’s immersive and interactive nature, my Social Studies 9 students were able to actively participate in the learning process, particularly when studying the rise of ancient civilizations.

Minecraft logo with characters
Minecraft Logo

After finishing our study of ancient Mesopotamia, a significant civilization in human history, I wanted my students to explore the elements that make a civilization a civilization by creating their own. We delved into the characteristics of ancient civilizations, such as complex social structures, systems of governance, economic activities, technological advancements, and cultural achievements.

Before diving into the project I had numerous students ask if they could use Minecraft. I had no previous understanding of Minecraft, but I am not one to shy away from a challenge and I am certainly not one to tell students they can’t learn in a way that they feel best fits them. Thankfully, Minecraft Education offers a variety of YouTube videos to help teachers get started, so I brushed up on my Minecraft knowledge and let the kids get started. With the enthusiasm and expertise of my students, they took on the role of teachers, patiently guiding me through the game. Their excitement and knowledge were truly inspiring, and they helped me grasp the fundamentals of Minecraft.

Equipped with their knowledge and Minecraft skills, my students began the exciting task of building their ancient civilizations. They applied their understanding of ancient architectural styles, constructing representative buildings, landmarks, and infrastructure within the virtual world. My students’ confidence and expertise with Minecraft allowed them to take the lead, teaching me new techniques and strategies along the way.

Throughout the building process, I actively engaged with my students, providing guidance, suggestions, and feedback. This personalized interaction not only improved the quality of their final creations but also allowed me to assess their grasp of the subject matter.

Integrating Minecraft into my Social Studies 9 classroom provided my students with a unique and engaging approach to explore the rise of ancient civilizations. By actively participating in the design and construction process, my students not only deepened their knowledge but also developed essential skills. Moreover, their expertise in Minecraft allowed them to take on the role of teachers, patiently guiding me through the game. This experience highlighted the power of collaboration and the enthusiasm of students in sharing their knowledge and it was a good lesson for me on why educators need to stay up to date in the digital world!

Example from Social Studies 9:

Want to use this idea in your own classroom? Perfect! It connects to the following Social Studies 9 outcomes in the province of Saskatchewan:

  • IN9.1: Explain what constitutes a society.