How Minecraft Helps with AP Envi Sci

Image Courtesy of Google Play/MOJANG

Alexander Jansiewicz, Staff Writer

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This may seem odd, and you’re probably wondering from the title: “But AJ, how on earth does Minecraft help with AP Environmental Science? That doesn’t seem right for an AP class.” However, there’s a lot to know about our world that Minecraft helps to vividly picture. Most elements carry over from the modern world to the expansive game, and as more elements are added, more implementation of sustainability and ecosystem maintenance are put into the game.

One way it is similar is through mining. As you go closer to bedrock in Minecraft, you start to find more precious metals besides coal, representative of how heat and pressure below the earth’s surface make diamonds and other ores. They are also similar in the way that you can also empty mines fairly easily and deplete any ore there; sustainable farming and mining are of the necessity.

Another way both are similar is through farming. In Minecraft, as you farm various crops and resources, you become more knowledgeable of certain farming practices as well as resource management. You have to figure out the most efficient way to farm whatever crop you want while minimizing input resources (seeds, water, bone meal) and maximizing output resources. In real life, similar strategies are also implemented to minimize pollution. Farmers want to minimize fertilizer inputs while maximizing crop yields in order to minimize fertilizer runoff to nearby streams and air pollution.

Overall, I’m glad I took AP Envi Sci as a course. Is it hard? Yes. But, is it interesting? Yes. For all my life I had been so blind to current ecosystem services and resources, never realizing the grand scale and importance of the very ground we stand on. Not to mention, the experiences I had in Minecraft gave me a significant boost for some portions of the course; if I told my 8-year-old self that Minecraft would help me in a course later on, I wouldn’t believe it.