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Any ideas for physics lessons?



  • Dan Noble Community moderator
    Minecraft Certified Beacon of Knowledge Super Star Moderator

    Hi Christopher, 

    I have used Minecraft a few times for some physics kind of related lessons (typically grade 4 -6): 

    1. One testing the blast resistance of structures and different materials with TNT. 

    2. Testing inertia with roller coasters and minecarts to see how much acceleration was required to complete the coarse. 

    Was stretching a bit, but the students had a blast... literally! :) 

    If you're looking for a game with physics closer to the real world, you may also want to check out KSP (Kerbal Space Program). 

  • Debbie Alexander Community moderator
    Bug Zapper Beacon of Knowledge Super Star Moderator

    Well, that sounds to me like a challenge! Let's all get our thinking caps on! What physics concepts can we discuss, model, describe, exemplify or observe in MinecraftEDU?

    Thoughts, folks?

  • Christopher Walker

    I'm still percolating and I have a whole PLC day tomorrow to think some more but I've gathered a few---

    1. Projectile calculations work if you use something that hits the same spot every time - I have a snowball hitting a cow into lava pretty consistently and predictions work. Sorry to cow lovers.

    2. Vector navigation with the agent. As in, code it to travel a series of vectors and trigger or do something at the end. 'travel x meters @ a certain angle.' it was easy to tell it to do what I wanted but he could only turn 90 degree angles. If there was a way to make him turn to an angle before moving, it sure would be amazing. I am still going to do this activity, but the other way around, IE : Break this vector into its two components, then make the agent go north y meters, w x meters, and stop. 

    3. maybe a map on the wall and a veeeery large expanse of canvas to use as a graphing tool It might be easy to find slope, actually!

    4. Calculating velocity and speed based on observing a mine cart, but we're already past that in the curriculum for this year.

  • Barri Mock

    Hi Chris,

    I created this fairly recently which might help with some ideas: Physics Training Academy | Minecraft Education Edition

    Any feedback or ideas for further development would be awesome.

  • Christopher Walker

    Wow! Thanks for sharing that, it gives me some ideas. I like the style of it. What I have so far doesn't have too much in the way of 'character.' 

    I'm planning to run my world as class activity where we all go in at the same time and experience it together, so most of my things right now rely on some redstone to make things more 'repeatable'

    I have a couple of activities ready to go in my world and a few on the way, check them out if you like:

    *there's a simple racetrack with a countdown for calculating velocity, it has a global title chain to show everyone the countdown.

    *A vector navigation challenge where they code an agent to travel to a pressure plate.

    *A projectile challenge where students find vx and ag, then predict range or launch height to hit a target.

    I'm still working on some things for maybe calculating PE and GPE next.

    I'm also offering extra credit for students to write a biography but create it as a diorama of a figure from science history in the form of their home 


  • Aleece Landis
    Beacon of Knowledge Bug Zapper Super Star

    Might be able to draw some parallels with electronics if you get into that and using red stone and creating logic circuits?

    Perhaps measuring velocity moving across different surfaces.  Can you use snowballs to move something along and ice track sort of thing?

    Perhaps something with balloons and flying different mobs up to measure the mass given to them in the game?

  • Barri Mock

    Thanks Chris, I will take a look! Feel free to download a copy of the Spheres and work into your plans! The original idea was to create experiments in them so you could strip out and add your own. I will keep my eye open for any others that look promising and share here! 🙏


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