Minecraft Earth Science - 4-weeks (Great First Time STEM Qwest Course)

Course Description

This "Earth Science - Natural Resources in Minecraft and the Real world" course will teach students about renewable and non-renewable resources, minerals and rock types, precious metals, gemstones, and the methods used to mine them from the Earth and convert them to objects for human use.

During the course, students will create many builds in **Minecraft. Students can create their builds on any version of Minecraft whether that is on a computer, tablet or gaming console. Each week, a build topic in Minecraft will be assigned. Students will work to create their builds in Minecraft, then post screenshots of their work in the weekly "Discussions" area. Students will be able to see the work of their classmates and make positive comments to each other and also receive feedback from the teacher. 

In addition to the weekly Minecraft topic, for each weekly module students will watch video lessons, complete assignments, quizzes, and have optional offline lab/activities based on a weekly theme. The labs are optional and not included in the weekly points! Some students may not have the time and materials needed to complete them. However, the labs are great and if you can complete them there is a discussion forum just for labs where students can show off their creations.   

There are a total of 450 points available (50 points for the orientation module and 100 points for each of the weekly modules) to be earned throughout the class. All points are weighted evenly. Points for completing a discussion post are weighted equally as points awarded for Minecraft builds, points for quizzes, etc. 

During the course, weekly tasks will be assigned each Monday morning and should be completed before the start of the following week to stay on track.

The "Week 1: Renewable and Non-renewable Resources" unit will teach students about fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas as well as renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy. This week’s quiz will focus on the topics of renewable and non-renewable energy. Students will start work on their “museum of natural resources” that they will work on throughout the course.

In "Week 2: Rocks and Minerals" students will learn about the difference between rocks and minerals. They will also learn about the rock cycle and how rocks are created including igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks and how they are expressed in the game of Minecraft. This week’s quiz will focus on rocks and minerals. During this week in Minecraft students will continue to work on their “museum of natural resources".

During "Week 3: Gold Rush!" students will learn the history and significance of the gold discoveries in California, Alaska, and Australia. Students will learn how the “gold rush” spawned boomtowns and industries across the globe. This week’s quiz will focus on the topics of gold discoveries and the towns that grew because of them. During this week students will add to their “museum of natural resources” and also create a replica of an 1800’s mining camp.

For the "Week 4: All that glitters isn’t gold" unit, students will learn about precious gems, how they are mined and then refined into sparkling jewelry. This week’s quiz will focus on diamonds, emeralds, and other precious gems. During this week students will finish their “museum of natural resources” and also create a shop to sell products made from the natural resources in Minecraft such as diamond swords, gold ingots, and shiny emeralds.

Week 5 is for "catch up and wrap up". No new tasks are assigned this week. Students will use the week to submit any late or missing work, view the builds created by other students or add any missing features to their builds.

Students will complete one module per week. Modules unlock on Monday mornings. This is to encourage students to stay on track by completing their tasks according to the provided timeline and to keep them from working ahead too fast. A task for each day is highlighted in the "resources, assignments and checklist" of each weekly module. This timeline is a suggestion and will ensure that work is completed if the timeline is followed. However, students can choose to work more or less on each day based on their schedule. All work is "due" by Friday each week. However, these are soft deadlines and points are never taken off for late submissions.

A Minecraft account must be purchased by the learner and is not included in the course fee. Any and all versions of Minecraft are acceptable.

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