Wild West

Wild West

8-10 yrs old

11-13 yrs old

Computer Science


Running Out of Time: Wild West. Creativity in Coding – Putting it All Together

avatar Submitted By: Minecraft Education

September 3, 2020


  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking

Learning Objectives

  • Compare and refine multiple algorithms for the same task and determine which is the most appropriate. 1B-AP-08
  • Create programs that use variables to store and modify data. 1B-AP-09
  • Create programs that include sequences, events, loops, and conditionals. 1B-AP-10
  • Decompose (break down) problems into smaller, manageable subproblems to facilitate the program development process. 1B-AP-11
  • Test and debug (identify and fix errors) a program or algorithm to ensure it runs as intended. 1B-AP-15

Guiding Ideas

Tell students: today you will be investigating and becoming more familiar with utilizing all the skills you have been learning about in this course. We are going to the American frontier circa 1850. The gold rush is in full swing, and small mining towns are popping up all over the west.

Coding objectives:

In this lesson we are continuing to work with Events, Variables and Nested Loops. We are giving the guidelines and suggesting a way the objective can be achieved. Students need to put all these concepts together to come up with the best way to solve the challenges presented.


Student Activities

Coding activities: (30 min)

Activity 1: Mine the Resources

Tell the students: While we are locating the portal why don’t you help these miners out? They cannot fit under the barrier into the mine, but the Agent can. You will need to take manual control of the Agent to do this.

Students need to control the Agent to navigate the difficult area and mine up all the ore. Here is a possible way it can be accomplished. It is up to the student how they accomplish the task.

Activity 2: Starter Houses

Tell the students: While we’re waiting let’s help the miners build up their town a bit. There are lots marked for three new houses that need to be built. Help them out by building the walls. The length and width should match the markings, but the height you can decide.

The students are given two plots that are 5 x 5 they need to build walls on. Below is the code for 1 building. The student can use controls like Activity 1, or however they choose to move the Agent around.

Activity 3: Town Hall

Tell the students: Let’s help the people finish up their Town Hall.  It’s not a perfect square like the houses we just built. This time you will need to specify both the length and width. You’ll also need to make the walls at least five blocks high.

This activity is similar to Activity 2, the students need to figure out 3 parameters: height, length and width and set them up.


Performance Expectations

Ask the students about the skills that they have learned during the lesson, to reinforce the concepts.

1. Q. Although nested loops take longer to set up, do they make the work go faster or slower for the Agent? Why?

A. Faster. The Agent has the ability the student does not to do multiple tasks all at the same time.

2. Q. When you do not program a series of tasks for the Agent to do, but give the Agent one command at a time, what did we call that in this lesson?

A. Taking manual control.

3. Q. What did you enjoy building in this lesson?

A. The answers may vary.



  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking