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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Suggestions for Creative Games for 6th Grade Needed

Suggestions for Creative Games for 6th Grade Needed

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Our new sixth grade teacher is asking me for suggestions for age appropriate creative games for her new classroom next year. Most of the games we have at the school are designed for younger students. My son (age 11) loves a game called Mindcraft. This is a building game that is fairly creative and good for spatial learning and basic geometry. It seems like we should be able to run it on our server (to protect the children from the online players) and that it is possible to disable the creepy monsters section of the game. However, I'm still unsure that we should add it because it can be fairly addictive for some kids. Does anyone have any experience with Mindcraft in the classroom? Any suggestions for alternative creative games they have used in the classroom for this age group? Thank you for any suggestions in advance!

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Jason Fiorito's picture
Jason Fiorito
Rabble-Rouser and Fomenter of Unrest

I've never run Minecraft (or played it beyond a bit of messing about during Beta), but it looks like this place can help:

I don't know how your school separates their science curriculum, but if 6th grade handles basic forces and motion, I heartily recommend Portal (1 or 2). Getting Portal 2 through the Steam server also enables level creation, letting the teacher design levels to enforce the concepts they want to teach. There's also which is done through Valve itself (the publisher of Portal), though there's not much there.

Good Luck, and let us know how Minecraft works out!

Sarina's picture
Graduate Student - Education Policy

Hello Lisa! I have been conducting research in games for STEM subjects, and I would highly recommend visiting Bill MacKenty's page ( and asking him about Minecraft. He recently implemented it into his classroom so the class could reconstruct the renaissance city Zamosc. He might be able to lend you a hand.

Minecraft is an incredibly creative game, and I personally love it. It can be very addictive, but if you are implementing it in the classroom then you get to set the time limit. My only concern is that it does not respect the laws of physics (e.g. you can place a block in the middle of the sky and it won't fall down). However, there are mods (game design modifications) for that if it is a concern. You can play on "creative" mode where there are no monsters (and thus no violence) or on "survival" mode where the student will have to build a place to survive when zombies come out at night.

Hope that helps a bit!

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