Mind Craft

University of Nebraska- Lincoln Digital Commons - Honors Club

Mind Craft

By: Dana Hoppe, Alison Cloet, Mickey Tran, & Caleb Kowalsk Copyright 2018 by Alison Cloet, Dana Hoppe, Caleb Kowalsk, and Mickey Tran under Creative Commons Non-Commercial License. Individuals and organizations may copy, reproduce, distribute, and perform this work and alter or remix this work for non-commercial purposes only.

Download: Mind_Craft.pdf


Welcome to the facilitator guide of the Mind Craft program. This is approximately an 8 week program, depending on the pace of your group. Loosely based off of popular games like SimCity and Minecraft, is a program that allows students to create their own communities and build up their society from scratch using hands on activities. Each week a task is given to them to build their society. It will start o from scratch where they have to think of tools that enable building a society, and by 8th week, they’ll have functioning buildings and rules. This program aims to touch base on skills involving art, engineering, and teamwork interaction. By the end of each session, students should have used skills involving teamwork, leadership, and creativity. This is an incremental program where students will be building on top of their project. It would be ideal to have a place to store their project as they continue growing it. It may be possible to disassemble the project if needed though. 


  1. FOOD 
  3. TOOLS 
  5. LAW 
  8. TRADE

Facilitator's Responsiblities

As a facilitator, you have the desire to help students thrive on their own creativity by guiding them through a productive environment. 

Your tasks include: 

* Introduce and discuss the task of the week
* Split up the students into at least 2 groups for their community
* Ensure students use appropriate behavior that will not negatively impact each other’s learning
* Gather supplies necessary for each weekly session
* The potential supplies are just suggestions to complete each task, so get creative with different supplies students can use!
* Think of possible scenarios for each session and overall program*.

 *This program was purposely to be made vague in its instructions in order to allow students the ability to think creatively without restrictions. Thus, there most likely will be questions and concerns about the limits and requirements put on for each session. The facilitator thus has the option to put any limits or requirements that they see fit. This allows for the program to be versatile.


 Each week, students are given a structured guide they follow in their booklet. It goes as follows. 

Week [ number]: [Theme of the Week] 
[Things to Think About] 

Number: There are 8 weeks put into this guide, however, it can be split however best fits the group. 

Theme of the Week: This title gives a brief overview of the activity the students will be doing. 


The purpose will be bolded giving the prompted task asked of the student to complete by the end of the session. It goes into the role of the student as an innovator, challenging the student to figure out a way to do the task.

Things to Think About:

These are prompts to help guide the students through their task. Questions are asked to get the students thinking of how they want to accomplish the prompt. Facilitators can use this as an open discussion as students work on the project or have them answer it individually. 


At the end of each session, it is encouraged to let the students present their work. This can help them develop their public speaking skills and encourage a sharing of ideas.


Students have an understanding of the purpose of the program and their role. 


The students are in a ‘deserted’ area. Their goal is to create a community within this area. You are able to give them as specific or general of a location. Almost every session will ask students to create objects to show their off their creativity. It is recommended to make these model size for easy storage and cheap material. You could also have the students create model size miniatures to enhance the experience of their models. 

Samples of possible models are shown below. 

Key terms are introduced in this session. Make sure the students understand the key terms through group discussion or exercises. 

As you explore your new habitat, you realize something….where is the food? The shelter? Water? You need each of these to survive, but in order to gain them you must first build tools to defend yourself and your community.

Task: Create one 3D model for each tool you design using the supplied materials. 

Questions to consider: 1) To grow food, what supplies and tools would you need? 2) What types of tools are used to build a shelter? 3) How would you defend your community if it were threatened?

Last night, a rainstorm came through and soaked all of your community, making everyone miserable. As you walk around in soggy clothes the next day, you all agree today is the day to start building shelter. Luckily, you now have the tools to accomplish this.

Task: Build 3D models of homes and agree on a community layout using the styrofoam sheet provided. 

Questions to consider: 1) Which materials will you choose? 2) How many floors does it have? Windows? Doors? 3) How will it protect you from the weather?

You’ve been eating berries from bushes you found, but now are famished from building and need a real food supply to sustain yourself and the community. You have the seeds to grow the food; all you need to do is put them into action. 

Task: Look back on the tools you built in Phase 1 and implement them to grow food to ensure the community prospers. 

Questions to consider: 1) What type of garden will you have? Where will it be located? 2) Which types of food might grow best in your environment? 3) Is there certain produce that produces an abundant harvest? 4) How will you water your food? Is there a water source nearby?

Everyone is content and the community is thriving; however, you wake up one morning to find spoiled crops in the garden. It seems there has been an animal invasion. To prevent this from happening again, you’re going to need to defend your community. 

Task: Build a defense around your community and place it on your community model. 

Questions to consider: 1) What types of protection can you implement to keep pests out? 2) What are the best materials to use to build your defense? 3) Should you create a plan of action if there were another invasion?

Disputes have been growing among members of the community and the unity that was strong in the beginning is starting to fade. To pull everyone back together, perhaps a meeting center and set of laws might hold everyone accountable to getting along again. 

Task: Collectively design and build a 3D model of a meeting center. As well, agree on a set of laws and create an official document for them. 

Questions to consider: 1) Can you think of a meeting center in your own community? 2) Where will the meeting center be located within the community? 3) How will people know it’s your meeting center? Is there a sign? 4) What laws are needed to ensure fairness and order? 

One day, a severe natural disaster rips through the community, resulting in heavy damage to buildings and the land. It appears you’re going to need to repair this week and brainstorm ways to fortify the community so you’re ready when the next disaster strikes. 

Task: Clean up the community and repair the damages while improving the strength for better protection. 

Questions to consider: 1) Why didn’t the damaged buildings survive? Were the materials too weak? 2) What types of natural disasters are common in your environment? 3) Do you need to build any protective coverings?

Your community has developed so much from when you first arrived and is flourishing, but there isn’t anything very special about it. How will you expand the community if newcomers find it too dull? When others think of your community, you want it to be known for something.

Task: Establish unique aspects for your community. 

Questions to consider: 1) What are some cities or towns you hear about? What are they known for? 2) What attractions might your community have? 3) Is there a flag or community logo? What about landmarks? 

You’re finding that other communities seem to be doing better in areas that you’re not, and vice versa. They might be more efficient in growing a certain food, but you might be stronger builders. A community cannot sustain itself alone, so the solution here is trade.

Task: Exchange skills and supplies with other communities to build each other up. 

Questions to consider: 1) What is a fair exchange? How do you mutually agree on it? 2) What can you offer to other communities? What can they offer to you? 3) What are your top priorities for expanding the community? What might you need for them?


Example 1
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Example 1

Example 2
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Example 2

Example 3
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Example 3

Example 4
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Example 4

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This Portfolio is brought to you for free and open access by the Honors Program at DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln. It has been accepted for inclusion in Honors Expanded Learning Clubs by an authorized administrator of DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Hoppe, Dana; Cloet, Alison; Tran, Mickey; and Kowalsk, Caleb, "Mind Craft" (2018). Honors Expanded Learning Clubs. 13. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/honorshelc/13

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