Minecraft Edu’s lessons in “good trouble” teaches students about civil justice

Robert Collins

Minecraft Edu’s “lessons in good trouble” is inspired by the late Georgia congressman John Lewis, a leader of the Civil Rights Movement who served 17 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a member of the Democratic Party from 1986 up til his death in 2020.

Lewis was one of the “big six” leaders that were instrumental in organizing the March on Washington in 1963, and was also involved in the Selma to Montgomery Marches in 1965. He led a life of nonviolent resistance, and was an exemplar of peaceful protest as well as a champion of social justice. The term “good trouble” was one of his bywords, and it means standing up to unjust socio-economic systems despite personal consequences.

This is what Minecraft’s lesson on the subject tries to impart to students. The lesson begins by having students watch a video of a commencement speech given by Lewis in 2014 at Emory University. This is followed by a class discussion on the meaning of “good trouble.”

Students are then logged into Minecraft Edu’s Good Trouble World, where they are given a guided tour by the npc (non-player character) “John Lewis.” Here students are introduced to other npcs representing other figures of various social justice movements; these have labels over their heads that can be expanded showing information about the npc. Students are asked to take notes using the game’s Book & Quill. The Good Trouble World also explores other movements such as Women’s Suffrage and the Anti-Apartheid Movement, among others.

Afterward, students then share in-class what they have learned, and there is another class discussion to close out the lesson. The aim of the lesson is to give learners an understanding of the importance of social justice movements and why they happen, and to impart a sense of empathy with those who are different, and to help them understand how they can be a force of positive change in their own everyday lives.

All told, the lesson is part of Minecraft Edu’s broader commitment to fostering a generation of world citizens that are both enlightened and sensitive, both online and in the “real world,” by developing students’ character, empathy and sense of citizenship, and broadening their sense of being part of a world community.

Feature image courtesy of Minecraft Education Edition