Living in a Minecraft World

living in a minecraft world

What is Minecraft?

My 11 year old has abandoned me for a “better” source of entertainment and comfort.

It’s a computer game that millions of others are obsessed with: Minecraft. He lives, breathes, and obsesses over Minecraft. He is now using Minecraft vocabulary in his everyday language. He is changing friendships based on his online buddies.

Is it all bad? Absolutely not.

Does it drive me crazy. Absolutely.

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Minecraft items (from top left moving clockwise): Steve, Creeper, Hay/Stone, Zombie

There are several different types of Minecraft games. The default “skins” for these games (aka players) are “Steve” and “Alex”. You can change your skin and look as unique as you would like. All of the games involve bricks (like build-able Legos) and are in a variety of biomes. You can build small hovels or enormous palaces. Following are a list of the types of games from which Minecraft players be sucked into the endless vortex of screens:


There are no specific goals or winners in creative mode. Every game is a new experience. In creative mode, the player has unlimited bricks and cannot die. I have seem my kids at work on creative mode and it is amazing. It reminds me of the world’s most magnificent Lego creation. The most awesome thing about Creative mode (besides not dying) is that you can fly!


In survival mode, there are multiple players all on the same game collecting resources (wood, stone, etc). You must harvest, mine, and craft your own materials in order to stay alive. Players have a hunger bar and must periodically eat in order to stay alive. There are “bad guys” such as Creepers that can kill you at night and you must avoid.


Adventure mode introduces custom crafted maps and adventures. There are restrictions on what different players can do in this multi-player game.


The player can fly around the game observing but without interacting. This is aptly named a “spectator” only version of the game.


This is my son’s all time favorite obsession. There are servers that can handle hundreds of thousands of players at the same time to play these multiplayer games. The players interact and communicate with each other (you should hear my son!). Competitions are prominent with some servers including the Hunger Games (be the last player standing) and other player-versus-player games (contact fighting allowed).

Watch some videos about playing the game here:


My son kindly schooled me on a few of the vocabulary terms that anyone should have to be able to have a conversation about the game.

  • PVP: Player versus player, players can kill each other, played online with a server
  • Hunger Games: a popular PVP game
  • N00b: a new player with no experience (please note that those are zeroes and not letter “o”s
  • Mining: gather resources by digging in a cave (stone, ore, diamonds, gems)
  • Smelt: put a resource in a furnace with wood to get the essence to use
  • Craft: make something such as iron sword
  • Harvest: gather wheat, flowers, wood
  • Wrekt: to kill another player
  • Regen: gain hearts (health) back over time
  • Mobs: things that attack you at night (Creeper, Zombie, etc.)
  • RIPed: a dead player (verb/adjective form of”Rest in Peace”)
  • Skin: the way the players look in the game, new skins can be uploaded for free

So, here’s the real question. Is it really a waste of time or can anything good come from this game?

How Minecraft can benefit children:

The game of Minecraft can benefit children with Autism by building on their creative strengths and non-threatening communities.

It develops skills towards core curriculum standards in Reading, Writing, Math (this is a great article! read it!).

Teachers can find entire Minecraft lesson plans here.

One teacher has an entire Tumblr account about using Minecraft as a teaching tool here.

Kids can learn to program using Minecraft. I really, really wish my son would agree to do these lessons so he could finally become the next Mojang and pay for his own college education.


So what do you think? Are you ready to start conversing with your students/kids about Minecraft yet??




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  1. What a great resource – I have to admit that I am lost when it comes to talking about Minecraft with my students, but this is wonderful! Thanks!

  2. Annie Doyle says:

    Oh my gosh, this is so funny! I have no idea what you are talking about, but it sounds fun! Thanks for the lesson ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Drives me crazy too CC! My son loves Minecraft . I’ve been living in a Minecraft world for a couple years now. And I guess I encouraged the craziness when I sent him to a Minecraft camp at the local community college this past summer! They learned some basic programming and how to create their own world to import into the game. Pretty cool! I even had a Minecraft themed bday party for him last year , complete with that same Creeper head that you are wearing in the picture. I do see tons of creative and educational benefits so I am okay with the game (most of the time!) …and it sure beats the more violent games out there! ps–In case you didn’t know, there is a really great series of Minecraft books available with real story lines. I purchased them so that I could encourage more reading (and a little less gaming!)

  4. Thanks for the clarification on MInecraft – I’ve had a few students try to explain it, and I’m starting to understand. I must say, I LOVE when there’s a new craze like this that my three-year-old doesn’t know anything about. It forces my students to think about what I know about the topic (nothing) and how they can explain it to me so I get it. Great artic practice, language, descriptive, theory of mind, etc.!!

  5. Thanks for sharing this great article

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