How Kids Learn to Code through Minecraft Modding
Tynker’s fun and approachable learning platform teaches kids to create Minecraft mods, program drones, create games and apps, and much more. We’ve found that when we engage kids in activities that they’re actually interested in and passionate about, they’re incredibly motivated to problem-solve, debug, and learn. With Tynker’s Minecraft modding, it’s super easy for kids to make awesome mods and games, and they can deploy their mods with just a click.
Let’s go through three lessons from Tynker’s Minecraft Mod Design I course to see what kids are learning and what they can make!
How to Become the Hulk
In one of the first tutorials of this course, kids make a simple but powerful mod that creates an explosion in Minecraft whenever their character touches a block. With Tynker’s intuitive block-based modding, this mod only takes two lines of code!
- Check whether a player has clicked on a block with the “when player left clicks block” event block.
- Use the “create explosion” block to generate an explosion.
- Specify the location and power of the explosion.
Aaaaaand KABOOM! With this mod, kids are grasping the basics of how to trigger their mods and how to sequence blocks in a logical order. They’re also learning about parameters because the “create explosion” block requires them to specify two parameters: location of explosion and strength of explosion. In this context, it’s easy for kids to understand what a parameter is!
To complete their Hulk, kids can even exercise their artistic side by painting their own Hulk skins in Tynker with our Skin Editor.
How to Make it Rain Cake
This is an incredibly fun mod to make and to play with. Who wouldn’t want to make it rain cake?!
- Set up a loop that executes code on an interval. In this case, we’ll generate four falling piece of cake every second by executing the code every .25 seconds.
- Inside this loop, generate a falling piece of cake.
- Set the cake to appear at a random location within a certain radius of your location.
This mod emphasizes how to use random numbers to create variety and how to automate your programs using loops. It also reinforces what kids are learning in math class as they work in a 3-dimensional coordinate axis system. They’ll quickly get comfortable working with x, y, and z-coordinates to manipulate their world.
How to Build an Erupting Volcano
This is one of the more advanced tutorials in the course that teaches kids how they can use code to build immense structures programmatically in Minecraft. Here’s how Tynker teaches kids to come up with an algorithm for their volcano:
- Build a simple volcano that is only one block high.
- Build a two-level volcano that is two blocks high.
- Build a three-level volcano that is three blocks high.
- Create a solution that allows you to build a volcano of any size–even a hundred blocks high–without manually building each level.
This is a great example of how programming teaches kids algorithmic thinking and supports their learning in other subject areas, like math. Once kids have built a one-level volcano, a two-level volcano, and a three-level volcano, they can find a pattern and devise a flexible solution that allows them to build a volcano of any size. This gets to the heart of programmatic and computational thinking.
By only the sixth module of this Tynker course, kids are comfortable declaring and using functions, and by the end of ten modules, they are using function parameters to create more flexible functions, they’re applying recursive techniques to solve programming problems, and they’re using data structures like lists and hashmaps to control their own games within Minecraft.
If your kids play Minecraft, they’ll love Minecraft modding–and you’ll love that they’re learning to code and building their creativity and problem-solving skills!