Teaching Electronics with Minecraft: Part 1

I’ve gotten tired of teaching electronics the way that I learned it. Typically you begin somewhere around Ohm’s Law and build up the paper and pencil work until you get to work on actual circuits. Once you are there you can test and see if the stuff you spent the last few weeks learning about actually works or not.

This is probably a decent approach for later high school or college students, but for my middle school students, they see it as one thing; math. For whatever reason, math, not matter how simple, gets a bad rap. As soon as I start talking numbers, I lose them.

So this year I decided to go a different route. Instead of starting with the numbers, I am going to start with raw theory. But around that theory, I want to build an experience for my students. Something that they can see and remember. To do this, I am using Minecraft. In the video above I discuss a few of the basic things I am starting out with to give my students a real experience in electronics. I have lots of plans on how to add things in the near future to help connect the theory to the math and action down the road.

Beginning with MinecraftEdu

I’m a pretty lucky Tech Ed teacher in that I have a lot of tools available to me. My classroom is a large computer lab that has plenty of room for my 36 computers and space for soldering irons, drills, and all of the projects that my students make. My school recently allowed me to purchase MinecraftEdu for my lab.

I’ve been looking for a different way to teach some of the topics that I cover. Mainly, I wanted to teach electronics, computer programming, and home design through the lens of Minecraft. My middle schoolers love Minecraft and I am always looking for a new way to engage them and to deliver content in new and interesting ways. (more…)

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