Ham on Eggs

Lucy, my 5-year-old daughter, is sitting next to me in the office playing Minecraft. She’s put a baby zombie on a chicken and named him “Ham on Eggs”. She got that from YouTube. She’s still a little young to learn the JSON format that allows a player to put just about any mob on any other mob with the /summon command. For example an army of pig-riding skeletons.

/summon minecraft:pig ~ ~1 ~ {Passengers:[{id:"minecraft:skeleton",HandItems:[{id:"minecraft:iron_sword",Count:1},{}],ArmorItems:[{},{},{},{id:"minecraft:leather_helmet",Count:1}]}]}

Today I’m working on Minecraft U curriculum for this summer’s camps. Every year we have to refresh the curriculum to keep up to date with the changes in Minecraft and apply things we learned last summer and throughout the year.

Lucy will be attending Minecraft U camps for the first time this summer. At 5 she’s the youngest age we can manage but she has a distinct advantage in that she can already play vanilla Minecraft on a computer. She’s already learned a lot about custom texture packs, custom skins, and spawning baby zombies riding on chickens. Hopefully, we can still teach her a thing or two this summer.

If her Minecraft skills level up or not, she will absolutely experience Social and Emotional Learning through her interactions with other campers and on our Minecraft servers. We’ve both already had SEL opportunities this spring when our weekend workshop participants played on our new creative server. An accidental (we’ll assume the best) poisoning of her dog by another player was an intense moment requiring forgiveness and resiliency. I learned–not for the first time but in a uniquely deep way–just how real these worlds are for children, and how differently they approach them. What was for one camper a momentary chemistry experiment was, to another, a biological war crime on a cherished pet.

Maybe next summer she can start writing the custom JSON and Lua code that more-or-less directly translates into the kind of coding work any professional developer does every day. She’ll be 6 years old. I’ll count that as a win.

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