We continue to try to work on what to build. The tornado idea is on hold since it will require me to install a mod that may not work with minecraft edu. So, in the meantime my minecraft students have decided to build a middle east city (with a little prompting from me). Most of my students are studying the middle east in their Social Studies class so the idea of building a desert city made sense.
We started with a flat desert world and the students decided to use TNT to make a hole in the desert and add an ocean. Filling that ocean with water turned out to be a monumental task and eventually our server crashed. I have also found out that it isn't very easy to get rid of water, so today we started over.
Rather than having students build on their own, I asked them what they wanted to build and assigned them a place to build. They put a perimeter around their space and began to build. This worked well and we are starting to see some good structures in progress.
One of my favorite is the hydroelectric dam. Students have studied that there are some hydro electric dams on the rivers in Egypt so Brian built one using redstone. I have a short video of the dam in operation below.
Here are some of our structures starting to take shape.
I have noticed how well the students take care of each other in Minecraft. They are always willing to help each other and share their knowledge. I have also enjoyed their enthusiasm and their patience with me as they teach me what they want to do and how the game works. I see the value in using Minecraft in the classroom, but I am not sure how, just yet. For now, it is a wonderful enrichment for students.