June at campMODA: Mixing Minecraft with Architecture, Design, and Code

 

So, we know what the kids really want. Kids want to play Fortnite, make TikToks, and curate memes. But we know that kids also love Minecraft, and that’s why this June MODA brought two Minecraft camps to the table for all the young gamers and aspiring designers out there.

Architectural Design with Minecraft—our first Minecraft campMODA this summer, offered to 4th through 8th graders—let kids bring together their interests in video games and real-world design to create innovative and exciting structures, cities, and worlds.

The premise of the camp was this: camper architects were “commissioned” to design a building on the Lovett School campus, where the camp took place. After studying the site and learning the basics of how different kinds of buildings function, campers teamed up to brainstorm ideas for a structure that would 1) be useful to and fulfill the needs of the community, 2) appropriately respond to its environment, and 3) be future-forward and human-centered. Everyone got a crash course in basic architectural design processes and from there, the design process began.

As the name of the camp might imply, these campers didn’t have to rely on pen and paper to bring their designs to life—they were given access to and lessons in Minecraft, SketchUp, and Tinkercad, all computer-aided design programs that they could use to mock up their designs in a virtual world.

By studying innovative architects through history, examining famous structures, and practicing architectural sketching, campers developed a new sense of design and got to apply it to their own projects. We challenged them to consider variables such as aesthetics, sustainability, materials, and user experience while they came up with their own structures, and to consider not just their buildings’ exteriors but also their interior features and how they might make use of Minecraft’s Redstone functionality to provide power and light.

Whether campers were focusing on Minecraft basics or coming up with ways to get around Minecraft’s limitations, whether their interest was in accessibility or sustainability, huge worldbuilding or interior design, none of the campers’ creations disappointed. We saw sushi bars, cat cafes, and sugarcane farms. A sustainable treehouse with built-in solar panels, an accessible park. Dungeon adventures, rollercoasters, maze minigames, and racetracks. Water features, boathouses, yachts, and underwater playgrounds. Huge castles, skyscrapers, modern design, and 1700s style architecture. Sustainable chicken sanctuaries, too, and even one building shaped like a chicken.

We definitely think these kids have a future in architecture ahead of them—especially if their jobs involve fighting off creepers and mining Redstone ore every day.

On the other side of campMODA this June, we offered another camp tailored to gamers: Designing and Coding with Minecraft. This one, offered to 3rd through 6th graders, invited campers to use Minecraft as a computer design tool and collaborate with others throughout the design process. One of the first steps toward this goal was introducing campers to Minecraft servers, the integral element of the minecraft community that allows users to play and build worlds together.

Over the course of the week, campers explored Minecraft’s expanding possibilities and capabilities together. We challenged them to learn how to create 3D models of Minecraft structures, to use special command blocks that teach coding in-game, to learn the ins and outs of Minecraft servers, and to experiment with Redstone circuitry to create in-game electronics and mechanisms.

Along with learning these coding basics and applying Minecraft skills to other areas of technology and design, campers also got to design their own texture packs and mods, using their coding skills and design know-how to customize their characters and worlds to their liking.

The most playful part of the camp by far, though, was the exploration of Minecraft mini-games. Campers were able to study mini-games and then work in teams to design their own unique games on MODA’s private server. Who says learning can’t be fun?

At the end of both of these camps, parents and friends were invited to stop by and check out all the fun campers were having and let the campers dazzle them with the innovative buildings and stellar code that they completed during the week. Those campers who designed 3D models of their Minecraft structures were even gifted with prints of their custom designs, produced in-house with MODA’s 3D printers!

We know what kids really want to do this summer: have fun. So we’re making that happen.

Stay tuned to blogMODA for more camp recaps (and keep a special look out for our July Minecraft camps) to hear more about the fun projects our campers get up to every summer!