STEAM

Minecraft: Education Edition Reboots The Oregon Trail

Images: Microsoft.

Since its debut last year, educators and students in 115 countries are currently using Minecraft: Education Edition. Starting today, classrooms will be able to play a popular educational game from the past within Minecraft's sandbox world. 

Microsoft has launched The Oregon Trail Experience, which focuses on subjects in STEM, humanities and fine arts. The company partnered with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to bring back The Oregon Trail, a computer game first introduced in 1971 to teach students about frontier life by putting them in the role of a 19th century pioneer.

Now available in Minecraft: Education Edition only, “over 15 learning experiences along the way enrich learning with activities in language arts, mathematics, science, visual arts and more, and reach students regardless of grade level,” Microsoft wrote in the blog post announcement. “Students can also add their own paths to the game and create their own 19th century communities along the journey.”

Lessons are divided by grade level and subject.

One lesson, for example, asks students to create a floating device to cross a river. In the process, they gain knowledge in physics related to buoyancy and weight. Another lesson teaches economic concepts like supply and demand by engaging students in research around the fur trading companies active along the Oregon Trail.  

According to the announcement, the Oregon Trail Experience is one of several initiatives that Microsoft has recently undertaken to boost its education offerings. Last spring, the company worked with the Roald Dahl Estate to host a writing competition for elementary and middle school students. On the horizon, Microsoft and the Smithsonian are holding Museum Day Live! on Sept. 23 and releasing STEM-focused activities for Minecraft: Education Edition.

More information can be found on the Microsoft Blog.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at sravipati@1105media.com.

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