In my previous post, Minecraft at home & in school, I wrote about my son’s love for the Minecraft game and how the game can be used in schools. In this post I wanted to show you an example of how my son learned about the Periodic Table of the Elements through his interest in Minecraft.
Huh? You might be wondering how the Periodic Table and Minecraft relate. I didn’t set out to teach my son about the Periodic Table of Elements. He knows about the Periodic Table of Elements now because of his interest in Minecraft and his natural flow of learning – which is all about questioning. 🙂
An old friend and past student of mine sent me the Minecraft Periodic Table via Facebook. Minecraft is all about mining, digging, exploring, crafting and creating; it makes sense that it has it’s own periodic table (plus it’s funny!). I showed the Minecraft Periodic Table to my son and he “got it” instantly, he understood how it related to Minecraft instantly because he understood the game. This is Gold! If you’re a teacher or parent think about this….think how many times you try to teach something to children and how long it can take sometimes. The lesson here is that learning through authentic experience in the context of a child’s interests is a WIN-WIN situation. My son understood what the Minecraft Periodic Table was and what it represented. Of course, he did not understand the symbols but he realised that the symbols stood for the element.
What is the “natural” flow of learning here? A question! My son asks: “What are the symbols? Why is the symbol for gold Au?” Love it! I then proceed to show him the Periodic Table of the Elements and we talk about things like how water is made up of H & O and carbon dioxide is made up of C & O. What is carbon dioxide Mum? Ahhh another brilliant learning opportunity right there in his question….this is the best way for learning to occur, don’t you think?
I just got this fun t-shirt from my Mum & Dad. My 9 year-old son understands it because he now understands the basics of the Periodic Table of Elements which he was interested in learning about because of his love for the Minecraft game; brilliant! 🙂