Students learn economics, civics, geometry and how democracy works as they join together to create a city within a virtual Minecraft-type world. Minecraft programs are limitless platforms for students to learn academic skills in a highly engaging virtual environment. In this problem-solving class, students design their own house and business as they learn about budgeting, profit and loss, and supply and demand. As they serve on a city council, they study how laws are made and work together to create and vote on a city constitution. They work in committees to make key decisions and design buildings for their city. Students use mathematics and geometry to construct a working urban environment. STEM skills have never been so fun!
Week 1: Welcome to Our City! Let’s Plan the Construction of Your House, What is a City Council?, City Council Debate & Vote: What to do with the Park?
“The Basics of Business”, Business Budgeting, Continue Constructing Your House, Working on the City Council’s Park Plan, Planning Your Business, How Cities Get Their Names, Voting on Our City Name
Week 2: Learning About the Symbolism of Flags, Constructing your Business, Creating Your City Flag Nominee, Business Tours to Fellow Students, Project Plans for a Trash Solution, “Hollywood Sign” and a Nearby Island
City Buildings and City Planning, Creating City Blueprints, City Building Budgeting, Giving Out Shopper Points, City Council: A Letter from a Concerned Citizen (Hospitals & Apartments), What is Democracy?
Week 3: What is a Constitution?, Writing Our Constitution, The Case of Leigh Crawford, Completing City Projects, Updates from the Committees, Voting on City Flags, City Constitution Objections
A Group Project: The Gateway Park, Capturing Your City, How Cities Expand, Perfecting Our City, Our City lives On…
Students will learn how real-world democracy works in a small town while simultaneously building it and participating as a citizen on the town council. Note: While some of the class is U.S.-centered, it is largely focused on democracy in general. We have had many international students take the class successfully.
Jaweria holds a Master’s in Education Administration with Principal’s license from UMass Boston as well as a Master’s in Elementary Education from Northwestern University. Jaweria has more than 15 years experience as a classroom teacher for grades 2, 3, 5 and 7 in both public and private schools in California and Massachusetts. She has served as a Director of Curriculum and Instruction in both public and private schools in the Boston area.
We send out bonus work each week that is optional for students to complete.
We use a public domain version of Minetest instead of Minecraft, which is better for this civics-based program for a number of reasons:
1) We find that the mobs, invisibility, withers, potions and the like in Minecraft makes for a not-so-realistic atmosphere. Minetest works better for a civics class as it is more realistic.
2) There are mods we put into Minetest to allow for more decorations, cars, signs and other items that makes it easier to say, design a business or decorate a home. Minecraft has mods available too but in order to run them on our server, everyone signed up for the class would have to download them all on their own computers, which is technically challenging for many families. Minetest includes them automatically.
3) Minetest is free which allows more students to participate in the class.
Please note THIS PROGRAM DOES NOT GENERALLY WORK ON TABLETS OR CHROMEBOOKS. We provide instructions for how to download Minetest onto PCs or Macs.
In addition to the Village Square classroom, this class uses Minetest.
1 hour per week in class, and an estimated 1 – 2 hours per week outside of class.
We have designed our own powerpoints on various civics subjects (mentioned above) for the direct instruction portion of the class.