Making STEM come Alive!!!

Whether creating “unpoppable” bubbles, experimenting with gas expansion, making “tiny dancers” move, or observing a guest scientist from Explosions, Inc. blow up things (amazingly he didn’t set off the smoke detectors!), experiential learning brings Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math alive for our youth.

Minecraft is a popular computer game that serves as a virtual playground for kids. There are no obvious objectives in the game, which forces youth to find their own creative solutions to the problems of survival within the world of the game. It teaches problem-solving, resource management, and encourages experimentation within a safe, virtual environment. Minecraft’s infinite potential for creation allows youth to gain important visuospatial reasoning skills, as well as allowing them to gain a sense of environmental mastery over their virtual surroundings by building a house, a barn, a replica of the White House, or any other structure they might possibly desire.  Because of its open, objective-free nature, the game encourages youth to set their own goals and figure out how to achieve them, an invaluable skill in the real world. The game can even teach basic programming skills!

Using funds earned from a car wash community service project, club members purchased a Minecraft Realms server for the Teen Center. This private server allows staff to monitor in-game activities and limit who can play using the server, eliminating any chance of negative or inappropriate online contact. The server is also set to limit the possibility of “player-versus-player” combat, which ensures that everyone using the server must play at least semi-cooperatively. Since the purchase of the sever, club members have worked together to build a mountain village, a community garden, an amusement park, and several other large virtual projects.


The Minecraft Club’s “cummunity garden”.

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