Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Exploring the World of Mulan Through Minecraft

Last week our school performed Mulan Jr so Minecraft club explored the Forbidden City.

For those who are not familiar with the story, Mulan is about a young girl who disguises herself as a boy to join the Chinese army and bring honor to her family by defeating the invading Huns.

While historically, Mulan is set earlier much earlier, most of the imagery used refers to Americanized "Ancient China" themes. This gave us the liberty to explore an 18th century Forbidden City reproduction through Minecraft.

Project 1845 has a wonderful map of Beijing as it appeared around 1751 AD. There is an older, less complete version available in the Minecraft EDU World Library. Students are able to explore vast areas, sometimes even getting lost! We tried two different types of sessions with the Forbidden City map.

The first was more of a scavenger hunt. Students had a basic travel guide map of the city as tourists would use today. Then they needed to locate different points of interest and take a selfie screenshot at that location. After ten minutes of running crazy, the sheer size of the world really hit them as students realized they could not rely on working memory to locate places.

The second session was a capture the flag style game. Students were divided into two sides: Huns and Chinese. Each logged in as "HunName" or variation so that it was easier to identify teams. The Huns started outside the city gate and the Chinese near the throne room. The Emperor (me the teacher) sat on the throne waiting to be captured. This was done in survival mode with chests of supplies scattered around the city.

Once students understood the scope of the world, they settled into their roles. A lack of teamwork by the invaders set them back at the beginning. Sharing of limited resources was also an issue as everyone wanted the best armor and most of the food. As we discussed this afterwards, students acknowledged these issues and developed better game plans for future attacks.