Playing Minecraft is more than just a game for students at Zaniac, a national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) enrichment franchise for K-8th graders. This month, Zaniac debuts its newest course, Minecraft Galaxy, combining the video game with space exploration.
In Game-Based Learning: Minecraft Galaxy, which launches nationwide this April, students will explore space with the Galacticraft mod in the game. They’ll also learn how to design and build rockets that travel to the moon, the International Space Station and Mars. Part of the curriculum also includes learning about the Earth’s oceans and undersea life using the Oceancraft mod.
“With game-based learning, students don’t often recognize how much knowledge they are truly retaining. It’s the ultimate vehicle to excite kids about the endless possibilities of science and technology,” said Sidharth Oberoi, Zaniac’s President and Co-Founder. “Adding space exploration to our curriculum is especially engaging since kids are fascinated by space and the discussions around this topic.”
The new Galaxy course is the latest in Zaniac’s custom curriculum using the popular game. Other courses include Minecraft Exploration, Minecraft Physics and Minecraft Architectural Design. As part of the game-based learning courses, Zaniac’s instructors guide students through Minecraft challenges designed to teach math and science concepts.
An instructor at Zaniac’s campus in Miami, Sherman Hewitt, was the impetus behind the new course. Hewitt, who works part-time while enrolled as a student at the University of Miami, began toying with the idea of incorporating space into a future course and volunteered to write a lesson plan himself. After piloting the course with much success in Miami last fall, Zaniac decided to roll out the course nationwide.
“Working at Zaniac is exciting for me because I get to play a role in guiding students to their future careers. Teaching kids about the possibilities that are out there equips them with the skills and confidence they need to succeed in school, and in life. Our Minecraft Galaxy course could help inspire a future NASA astronaut or scientist,” said Hewitt.
Zaniac currently has campuses in Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah, in addition to franchises in Miami, New York City, Boston, Santa Monica, Dallas, Greenwich and Westport, CT and Asheville, NC. The fast-growing franchise plans to reach 50 campuses by 2017.
The new game-based learning program is a 90-minute class that meets once a week for six weeks, and the five-to-one student to instructor ratio ensures a personalized, peer-based educational experience.
In addition to Minecraft courses, Zaniac offers a multitude of STEM learning programs that get kids excited to learn math and science while preparing them for 21st century jobs, including Zaniac Robotics: LEGO®, App Creation, 3D Printing, Fashion Design and Computer Programming.
For more information about Zaniac, or how to enroll in the Galaxy program, visit www.zaniaclearning.com.