Dear Spectrum Community,
I just had a remarkable conversation with one of our Spectrum-at-Home students, who has been teaching me Minecraft. When I listen to him talk about Minecraft, I feel like I am listening to a foreign language, and at times English words being used in completely different unknown contexts. It is like I have some kind of processing glitch. When he started explaining to me how the worlds are constructed in sets of 64, I got excited. When he explained that there is a new version that goes below Y, I got excited. The obvious opportunities to connect to mathematics and coding became clear. I challenged him to learn about hexadecimals, and he was immediately on it. We talked about dimensionality. He talks of variants and textures. His expertise and confidence in discussing Minecraft is amazing, and it makes me wonder why we can’t tap into that kind of passion and intelligence in school all the time!
Session 2 of Minecraft: This could have been an undergraduate class in Mineralogy, Geology, and Mining. I had to look up andesite to discover it is a volcanic rock, and learned it is a major component of the crust on Mars. Perhaps, a minecrafter will have enough interest in andesite to be part of a future team developing martian building materials on Mars.
It is impossible not to be absorbed by our “keep us on our toes” Middle Schoolers. This week, they will have explored and shared ancient science discoveries (in contrast to the very intense innovation of Perseverance), and I hope they see the significance of human ingenuity across time and place.
We’ve enjoyed being outside again, but the wet snow and weather changes seem to have resulted in a lot of sniffles. Thank you for keeping head colds at home! Have a great weekend!
Dr. Mary Beth Cunat
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