Use Minecraft to Teach Economics

Mike Rugnetta’s video inspired me to think about how Minecraft can be used to teach economics. If you have played Minecraft (adventure mode) before, you would know that the 3D procedurally generated world contains limited resources for you to use to survive. This means that your tools, food and natural resources can be used up. This feature of the game can help illustrate the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

Content Standards

You might be asking, “What grade could I use Minecraft to teach economics?”.  Well here are some grade-specific CA social studies standards for your Minecraft economics lessons.

Grade 1: 1.6 Students understand basic economic concepts and the role of individual choice in a free-market economy.

1. Understand the concept of exchange and the use of money to purchase goods and services.

2. Identify the specialized work that people do to manufacture, transport, and market goods and services and the contributions of those who work in the home.

2nd Grade: 2.4 Students understand basic economic concepts and their individual roles in the economy and demonstrate basic economic reasoning skills.

1. Describe food production and consumption long ago and today, including the roles of farmers, processors, distributors, weather, and land and water resources.

2. Understand the role and interdependence of buyers (consumers) and sellers (produc­ers) of goods and services.

3. Understand how limits on resources affect production and consumption (what to produce and what to consume).

3rd Grade 3.5 Students demonstrate basic economic reasoning skills and an understanding of the economy of the local region.

1. Describe the ways in which local producers have used and are using natural resources, human resources, and capital resources to produce goods and services in the past and the present.

2. Understand that some goods are made locally, some elsewhere in the United States, and some abroad.

3. Understand that individual economic choices involve trade-offs and the evaluation of benefits and costs.

4. Discuss the relationship of students’ “work” in school and their personal human capital.

4th Grade: 4.4 Students explain how California became an agricultural and industrial power, tracing the transformation of the California economy and its political and cultural development since the 1850s.

2. Explain how the Gold Rush transformed the economy of California, including the
types of products produced and consumed, changes in towns (e.g., Sacramento, San
Francisco), and economic conflicts between diverse groups of people.

5th Grade: 5.4 Students understand the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era.

5. Understand how the British colonial period created the basis for the development of
political self-government and a free-market economic system and the differences
between the British, Spanish, and French colonial systems.

Post-Scarcity Economy

You can also use Minecraft to teach about the post-scarcity economy, as Mike Rugnetta points out in the video. In Minecraft’s creative mode, students can experience this theoretical economy because of the unlimited supply of natural resources and goods.


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