ComputerCraftEdu teaches players programming using mechanical turtles. The tutorial map called "Turtle Canyon" is designed to scaffold the players' progress from discovering the turtles to taking their first steps programming them. Through a mix of story-based adventure and student-driven exploration, students will become familiar with how turtles function and what the different functions the can be used for.
The world will accommodate anything from a single player to a group of 30 students. The experience is divided into four parts, each one expanding on the concepts of the previous part:
- Introduction and discovery of Turtle Canyon.
- Exploring the Canyon
- Getting started with your own turtle
- Leaving the Canyon, student-driven programming
This guide will walk you through the world, pointing out teachable moments to help you introduce your students to the world of programming with the help of Minecraft. Be sure to check out more general tips about teaching programming with ComputerCraftEdu.
Tips before you start
- Make sure you have ComputerCraftEdu installed on both the teacher and student computers . Make sure you test your setup before you start this lesson, simulating connecting to the server as a student and as a teacher. We strongly recommend that you use a real mouse, not a touchpad.
- This world assumes basic knowledge of moving around, digging and building and very rudimentary sense of crafting. If you and your class have not played MinecraftEdu before, a tutorial world is available to teach you the basics of Minecraft.
- There's a series of videos covering the basics of ComputerCraftEdu. You can utilize them as additional introductory material during the class if you wish.
Zone 1 Introduction and discovery of Turtle Canyon
Join the world and discover Turtle Canyon.
- Invite the students to join the world.
- Students appear in the world in the middle of a desert and follow a path to discover Turtle Canyon. Alongside the path there are signs, telling the story of the journey to the canyon.
- At the end of the path, they are teleported to the bottom of the canyon, where they must interact with a turtle robot to clear the path to the canyon.
- The map is designed to cater to all skills ranges of players. There are many hidden challenges for the expert players. Guide your faster or more skilled players to explore and discover the secrets, instead of just pressing on at full speed. Encourage them to help struggling classmates.
- The first turtles the players encounter will have a program pre-loaded and only offer limited interaction. They are demo turtles that only teachers can create. They give examples of the basic turtle abilities.
Zone 2 Exploring the Canyon
Familiarize yourself with different kinds of turtles and their programs.
- Students enter the Canyon and discover more demo turtles. Tell them they can run the programs on the turtles and print out the programs on discs. Encourage them to find out what each program does.
- Ask the students to explain what the program does. You can stop the game every once in a while to have a discussion about them.
Zone 3 Adopting your own Turtle
Students acquire a turtle and remote and can create programs on their own. Discover more hidden programs in the Canyon.
- Students can pick up a turtle and a remote. They need both to get started with programming on their own.
- The first challenge that prevents the students from progressing requires the students to use the turtles to climb a wall. There are multiple ways to solve the challenge: using the turtles as stairs, riding them over the wall, having a turtle build a staircase with blocks to name a few.
- Turtles and any other blocks can only be placed on the green "build allow" blocks. Point this out to the students.
- If the students get stuck at the wall, encourage them to pick up a turtle and try to navigate it into a position where the students can use them to climb the wall.
Zone 4 Secrets of the Canyon
Put the programs you discovered to good use and escape the Canyon and start creating your own projects.
- Students will soon end up hungry. They can use the turtles to explore hidden areas of the canyon and find food, building materials, and other tools.
- There are materials and programs hidden all over the place, discovering them is the key to escaping the canyon.
- Can you discover the secret of where the Turtles came from?
- The last section is more about open discovery and exploration with the turtles. Some students may end up using the turtles more than the others. Some use them for simple tasks like climbing a wall and others for building a pyramid. All of the approaches are fine as long as they get to use them some way. You can facilitate this by pointing out where they could be useful.
- You can also stop to the class for a while with the "Freeze students" command in the teacher menu to share ideas of what the turtles can be used for.