Written by: Andrea Griego, Primary Student Support Coordinator
Arnav Patel is a Y9 student who started at YCIS in K3. His love of learning and gaming has finally come together and the primary students are receiving the benefits through the Minecraft CCA. Because his CCA has been so successful, he was asked to be a student presenter at the ACAMIS Spring Conference in Macau this last March to tell teachers and school leaders how he got started and what he’s learned. Read more about Arnav’s journey leading the Minecraft CCA below.
My interest started when I was about 8. Minecraft was very different to most games that kids of my age were playing, and I decided to give this new game a try. Eventually my entire friend group got into it too, and that was how I came to love playing.
Why did you want to extend your learning and experiences with Minecraft to Primary YCIS students?
It initially started with me wanting to earn CAS hours in a different way than just participating in a bake sale or charity drive. I wanted to do something that was both interesting and allowed me to learn something new. I decided to do this by starting a CCA for Primary kids, I thought it would be something that the kids could both enjoy and learn from.
How did you get your CCA started?
Even before the first class, I had to make detailed lesson plans for each session. This involved a lot of planning and time to set up my Minecraft world. To plan, I followed the UBD Atlas planning template that professional educators use. It really gave me an inside view of what it’s like to be a teacher.
At the beginning, it was pretty hard to get the CCA started, but after a while I managed to get the hang of it. I learnt to just keep it short and simple. The students would sit on the carpet, I would give a quick introduction of what we needed to do and my expectations of the task. Then it was off to the computers to play.
What have you learned about younger children through the CCA? About yourself?
Younger children can, of course, be quite emotional and get mad at each other or the game easily, and sometimes even start crying. I remember there was a time one student nearly started crying because she didn’t find the right colour for building her house. I learnt that the students can be really creative and can do things that I would never think them able to do. A team of students came up and showed me what they were working on and I was amazed. It was an entire castle with dozens of rooms and watch towers, all built by nine students working together. Students’ leadership and cooperation skills really shine doing activities like this. I also learnt that I could be quite patient while teaching and it was a lot of fun too.
One time a Y2 student was building her house and she wanted to make a bathtub in her house, but in the game, there are no such things as a bathtub. I explained this and told her maybe she would want to do something else. But she was adamant on making a bathtub so I said she could try making one out of the materials that she had. Fifteen minutes later she came to me saying she wanted to show me something. She had managed to create her bathtub using staircases; fences and blocks. I was amazed on how resourceful the students can be.
Running this activity has helped me develop many real-life skills. I’ve learnt to manage my time responsibly. I’ve learnt to troubleshoot and be flexible and resilient as I’ve encountered times when students can’t log in or their computer isn’t working. I’ve also learnt leadership skills instructing twenty students in a classroom.