At key stage 3 we don’t yet teach the programming aspects of the new IT curriculum apart from a couple of lessons using Kodu.
During our curriculum days I was given an opportunity to run a Minecraft programming workshop with half of year 7 and half of year 8. This is a workshop I already run at other schools and events so was excited to see what my students would make of it.
The theme for the day in Science was First Aid so we had a look at building a 3D hospital in Minecraft using a few lines of Python code.
For most of the students (apart from the ones who come to Raspberry Pi club) this was their first experience of writing a text based computer program. Students were given a worksheet with the basic program which they had to type in and then run. This was a challenge for many students who found the task of copy typing accurately very difficult. Once the code was written and the hospital was built students then had an opportunity to tinker with the code to change the dimensions and the materials the hospital was made from.
It was a really interesting experience giving the students “an hour of code”. Most of the students engaged with it well and were keen to type in the code and tinker with it. Some became frustrated when their code didn’t work and they had to go back and debug it.
Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi is definitely a great way of introducing students to text based programming.
The code for the hospital can be found here.