Revitalizing the Christmas story through Minecraft

 |   Rita Ngai

Minecraft for Christmas

Celebrating Christmas has long been a tradition in Hong Kong – children especially enjoyed the gifts, scrumptious meals and long holiday. How many of them know what’s the main part of the Christmas story?

And it’s not about Santa Claus – it’s the birth of Jesus.

Bible study perhaps is the most challenging topic for teachers. While children nowadays are addicted to smart phones and with relatively short attention span, making Bible study relevant, fun and engaging for today’s students might sound almost near impossible.

Gamifying Bible study is the perfect solution. Minecraft is an award-winning game that provides a blank canvas for players to create something incredible through endless 3D building blocks. Players can made and mould the blocks and dye it with plants that they grew themselves, go on an adventure through forests and deserts while monsters are chasing you.

So, how can Minecraft help teachers teach Bible study?

Noah's Ark trimmed

“Bible study is one of the topics that students find it hard to relate. To garner students’ interest, I tried using Minecraft to bring one of the most important chapter in the Bible to live – the Noah’s ark and Life of Jesus,” said Eric Chan, Seconded Teacher of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Education Bureau, and Joseph Li, Chaplain of The Hong Kong Chinese Christian Churches Union (HKCCCU) Logos Academy. They have been teaching Bible study through Minecraft for 3 years to students aged between 11 to 13.

Sleeping quarters
Sleeping quarters for Noah’s family

“The students were extremely enthusiastic. Through gamifying Bible study, I can easily get them interested in learning the story of Noah’s ark, then inspire them to build their very own interpretation of the ark. Some students even build very well-thought through toilets for Noah’s family!” added Chan.

Bible study is filled with stories and scenarios that can easily be adapted into the Minecraft environment to inspire students to unleash their creativity, digest the stories and create their very own interpretation.

Students also need to collaborate and create as a team to build something amazing together. Minecraft is not a video game, but a tool to learn STEM and a wide range of subjects, as well as other important life skillsets such as collaboration, problem-solving, self-direction, interpersonal and communication skills.

Minecraft has a monthly userbase of over 91 million players in 2018. A Chinese version was launched in 2017 as well. Minecraft has transformed teaching. This new approach empowers teachers to make learning fun for our students – also fun for teachers!