Minecraft may already be one of the most popular video games worldwide, but it's also gaining real momentum in the classroom. Back in November, Microsoft announced 2 million users for Minecraft: Education Edition (or MinecraftEDU), an educational version of the sandbox game designed for classroom use.
Many teachers across the world are already using MinecraftEDU to teach computer science and other STEM topics, but Minecraft developer Mojang plans to introduce a fun way to explore chemistry within MinecraftEDU next month. "Bringing chemistry to Minecraft not only helps spark interest in STEM, but also helps educators engage students in the scientific process, reinforcing creative problem solving and engaging experiments,” said Minecraft Education Director Neal Manegold in a blog post today.
The upcoming Chemistry Update for MinecraftEDU will add four new crafting stations to the game: The Element Constructor, the Compound Creator, the Lab Table and the Material Reducer. Using these new crafting tools and new element blocks that will be added to their inventory, students will be able to create "never-before-seen Minecraft items using chemistry, such as glow sticks, rapid grow fertilizer and underwater torches,” the blog post explains.
The Chemistry Update will be unveiled this week at the BETT conference in London. The update will be available to download in early February for all MinecraftEDU users, along with ten educator-created lesson plans. To get started, you can already download the Chemistry Lab Journal on this page, which includes all details about the new crafting stations and more.