UK university aims to teach biochemistry to children using Minecraft

Minecraft since its release has shaped the way in which alot of adults and children alike play, this outstanding game where you are only held back by your imagination has been an amazing creative tool and its not surprising its been used for development to teach children biochemistry.

Tens of millions of children play Minecraft, but now the game could help them take their first steps into the world of biochemistry too.

Students at the University of Hull have created a Minecraft world called MolCraft, which aims to introduce children to topics including the structures of proteins and chemicals.

Available as a free download for the PC edition of Minecraft, MolCraft features a range of molecular protein chains rendered using the game’s familiar blocks, as well as chests full of virtual “goodies, puzzles and quiz books” providing more information.

The team that created it received funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry to develop the project. Researchers Mark Lorch and Joel Mills explained the thinking behind it in an article on The Conversation.

“MolCraft is a world where the majestic helices of myoglobin rise above you. Where you can explore this massive molecule and its iron centre that carries oxygen around your muscles. Or, if you prefer you can fly down a pore through which water molecules normally flow across cell membranes.

“In MolCraft, anyone can explore the building blocks of these incredible natural nano-machines. You can discover how just 20 chemical building blocks can result in the astonishing diversity of structures and functions that are required to hold living things together.”

The team is keen to see MolCraft used in schools, and is making it available as part of the MinecraftEdu library of worlds and mods for teachers.

This is not the first time Minecraft has been used to engage children with scientific topics. In 2013, Google worked with MinecraftEdu and Caltech’s Institute for Quantum Information and Matter to launch a mod called qCraft for the game.

It aimed to introduce children to quantum computing, with blocks coded to exhibit quantum entanglement, superposition, and observer dependency.

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