Even if you don’t teach computer science or programming but you want your students to do a coding activity students will enjoy, Coding with Minecraft, will work for you. And it’s FREE for all WA and AK states! I keep looking on their website because I can’t believe it’s free and it’s really free. Here is my review of using Coding in Minecraft with my students.

Coding in MinecraftCoding in Minecraft is simply amazing! It takes Minecraft Education Edition, an already incredible resource for teaching any subject for any grade level with Minecraft, and adds a learning management system for a fully credentialed course for learning to program. The course starts with an introductory and an intermediate course using MakeCode, a block style programming language, and ends with two advanced courses that teaches kids how to code with either JavaScript or Python! I have Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot kits and I use a free STEM Robotics 101 curriculum with my students. Lately I’ve been noticing that students do a pretty good job of designing solutions with their EV3 robots and building prototypes of their solutions with the Legos, but when it came to programming their robots students struggled. Their programs didn’t always do what they wanted to show their robots doing. So when I heard about the Coding in Minecraft course and after attending the training I thought this would be a great way of giving students some experience coding to see if that would help them with our robotics curriculum. We should be starting the robotics unit soon so I will report back how it goes this year. There is a start page with tutorials and videos to help teachers (click on the +’s to see more). There is also a page with videos to help students learn how to use their student portal to submit assignments. The introductory course begins by showing students how to move and manipulate objects in Minecraft so this program is accessible to all students, not just your Minecrafters. I assigned the intro course using MakeCode 3.0 to my three 5th and 6th grade Science/STEM classes. After about one month I had to bring it to a close with only 14 to 20 students out of 75 having fully completed the entire seven lessons of the intro course. Yes, one month and some only got through the Intro course!

Even though most only got through some of the seven lessons I did notice most of my students using language showing computational thinking! I was continually amazed at how they would explain their code to me using code specific language! I’m not a programmer and I do not know how to code so we got to the point where students would ask me for help and I had to stumble through with them because they either knew more than me or just as much as me! I’m also at the stage in my coding journey where I put some code together and expect the agent to do one thing and he doesn’t quite do what I thought. It’s not as straightforward as I think it should be! LOL

Minecraft Student Portal

Student portal view.

Here are kids working on the Coding in Minecraft Intro to Coding with MakeCode 3.0 course:

Coding in Minecraft NPC talking about looping.
Non-Player Characters (NPCs) give instructions to students.
Coding in Minecraft activity lesson.
Learning to code with the lesson activities.
Coding in Minecraft Intro Lesson 3 Assessment 3.
After learning from a number of activities, students then complete assessments.
Coding in Minecraft Maze Code
Getting their agent through a maze with code!
Coding in Minecraft Lesson 6 code.
Learning how to use loops!
Coding in Minecraft together.
Collaboration happening!

One thing I noticed is that students needed some scaffolding when going through activities for each lesson to learn to code, mostly by learning step by step how to put the code together. Some needed to see how to use the activities because when they got to the lesson assessments, they weren’t sure how to complete the assessments. Assessments have students start their coding from scratch, a blank slate, and build/design the code all on their own.

Alfonso Gonzalez
Alfonso Gonzalez

I teach 5th and 6th grade STEM in the lovely Pacific Northwest in a small, rural town called Chimacum. My goal is to help students discover that all learning is life-long and that 21st century tools can be used for work as well as fun.




Join Alfonso at NCCE 2023!


Wednesday, March 22, 8:00 am–9:50 amMarriott – Stadium

 Pre-Registration Required

Minecraft in Education? YES! If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Come find out how to integrate Minecraft into your content area, STEM, and SEL. We will be highlighting how to use this game based learning tool to engage and create learning experiences for students.

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