8-10 yrs old
11-13 yrs old
Students will recreate an area of Earth in Minecraft after exploring images of Earth from the ISS.
June 1, 2020
Station Tour: Cupola and Leonardo
Windows on Earth
Mystery Images from Space
Current position of the ISS
Optional app - requires a download
International Space Station Minecraft World
Have you ever wondered what Earth looks like from space? Astronauts on the ISS can show you! In this lesson, students will explore what Earth looks like from the ISS and then recreate an area on Earth in Minecraft to contribute to a class geography guessing game.
• Where do scientists take most pictures and videos of Earth? (the Cupola)
• Where do you see most lights at night on Earth? Why?
• Why is some water darker and some water lighter in the ocean?
• How can you best recreate a landform/area from Earth in Minecraft?
Teacher Preparation & Notes
1. Explore the Windows on Earth website and decide if students will be free to explore for the final project or if you will choose particular images.
2. Watch the video Station Tour: Cupola and Leonardo to understand where the Cupola is and why most pictures/videos are taken there.
3. Decide if small groups will be chosen by you or students.
4. Decide if you will limit the students to picking landforms/areas from a specific region.
a. Windows on Earth has a section dedicated to different regions if you prefer to do this.
5. Gather materials:
a. Graph paper
c. Colored pencils
d. Maps, geography books, map websites (such as Google Earth)
Estimated time: 60 minutes
1. Students will watch the video Station Tour: Cupola and Leonardo to understand where the Cupola is and why most pictures/videos are taken there.
a. The video runs longer than needed; the teacher can stop it around 2:30.
2. Afterwards, as a whole group, they will explore various images on the Windows on Earth website with the teacher.
3. Once students have a grasp on how to identify certain landforms/areas, they will play two games of Mystery Images from Space as a class.
a. The teacher may divide them up into smaller groups for this activity.
4. When the teacher is confident that the students can complete a few Mystery Images from Space activities on their own, s/he will dismiss them to their seats.
a. This can be done individually or in small groups.
5. At the end of class, students will gather and review any interesting or relevant information they have learned, and the teacher will write this information on chart paper.
1. Students will begin class by reviewing what they explored and learned about in class yesterday.
2. Next, the students will have an opportunity to explore the Minecraft: EE International Space Station world to see if they can find the Cupola.
3. Once that has been completed, the students will get in their groups and use a map or Google Earth to find a place to recreate in Minecraft- they must keep this a SECRET from other groups!
4. On graph paper, students will draw a sketch of what their area should look like in Minecraft from an AERIAL view. They will also choose 3-4 places to place slates, boards, and/or posters to give clues about the area they chose.
5. Once approved by the teacher, the students may begin working on their Minecraft recreation.
a. Students will need to load a new creative mode world or use the Minecraft Library to find a Biome that matches their needs.
1. The first part of class can be used by students needing to finish their Minecraft recreation.
2. Afterwards, the students will exchange spots with another group to try to guess what area of Earth they recreated.
a. HINT: This is when having students limited to a specific region for this project makes things a bit easier for students!
3. The first phase of the guessing game will be students looking at their classmates’ project from a high, aerial view. They can take notes and make guesses.
4. The next phase will be to fly down to the landform/area and read the clues given on the slates, boards, and/or posters. This is when they can use the clues to home in on their guesses from the aerial view.
5. The class will end with each group sharing their guesses and revealing the place they chose to recreate.
The teacher will informally observe the students’ work as they collaboratively build their landforms/areas and participate in the final guessing game. However, if the lesson coincides with a specific geography lesson, the teacher may choose to have students use the Minecraft camera and portfolio to grab images, and then place those images in a Sway or Adobe Spark Page with their clues/descriptions to share as evidence of learning.
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