Teach Kids Coding with Minecraft

submission by mya.stark

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):

LA Makerspace

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Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


LA Makerspace is a community-based organization whose mission is to foster innovation among Angelenos by offering increased access to new opportunities in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics).

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


LA Makerspace will partner with LA-based benefit corporation Connected Camps to create free coding camps with a common core-aligned curriculum, leveraging Minecraft, the wildly popular computer game, to teach kids to build, design, and code. Open source, free, and tailored to after-school educators, youth organization staff, parents and those without education backgrounds, the camps will enable people in underserved communities all over LA to use Minecraft to develop STEAM skills in youth.

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County:

Afterschool Programs

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics? (check all that apply)

Percentage of children enrolled in early education programs

Percentage of community college students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program in six years

Youth unemployment and underemployment

District-wide graduation rates

HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math

Academic Performance Index* scores

College matriculation rates

Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher education institutions, and the workforce) (Dream Metric)

Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)

Truancy rates in elementary and middle schools (Dream Metric)

Students perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.


Often described as virtual Legos, Minecraft has been embraced by progressive educators as a learner-centered environment for developing problem-solving, creative, technical, and coding skills. Minecraft thus represents a unique opportunity to scale a gateway to STEAM-related interests, identities, and skills that can be implemented across a student education pipeline. This project leverages Minecraft to 1) bring more kids into coding and technically sophisticated forms of gaming, and 2) sharpen our understanding of the relational and cultural supports kids need to develop STEAM interests as they move from K-12 institutions to higher education systems.

Relative to our proposal, while Minecraft gives kids a foot in the door, they need support to engage technically sophisticated aspects of Minecraft and fully develop STEAM interests. Prior research indicates that in order to engage in technical gaming interests kids need two supports: 1) peers and mentors they identify with, and 2) projects that engage their identities and interests. Our coding camp would offer these supports, both through the peer-based multiplayer environment in which the camp takes place, as well as via the curriculum itself.

In addition, because Minecraft is deeply engaging as a learning environment, kids want to learn and have opportunities to cultivate positive attitudes toward learning. We know from research that attitudes toward learning play an important role in a child’s willingness to stay in school. It is our hope that by helping kids to develop positive attitudes toward learning, we can impact truancy rates in schools.

And, because our camp model employs high school and college-aged counselors we are also working to reduce youth underemployment and unemployment.

Lastly, we will be partnering with after-school organizations to deliver the camps, which will include professional development for their staff so they can repeat the camps independently.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


We use a number of metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the camp. One measure is engagement: are kids actively engaged in our coding challenges; do they log in to our servers whenever possible? Another measure is a sense of belonging: do kids feel part of a community to which they are actively contributing and in which they are recognized as an important participant? A third measure relates to the mapping of our curriculum to the Next Generation Science Standards. Based on these specific learning outcomes, our coding challenges serve as performance-based assessments measuring the extent to which a kid has learned a particular coding skill or set of skills. We also gather daily data from our counselors on their interactions with the kids, noting learning challenges and successes and capturing information on how kids are doing with each of the different coding challenges. Counselor data is summarized and reviewed daily so that modifications to the curriculum can be made as needed.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

37 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

We just hosted your Minecraft workshop at my library, and it was a SMASH HIT! And this sounds EVEN MORE AMAZING! Good luck, and happy to spread the word!

by marc.h
6 months ago


by hobbesdream
5 months ago

Are you interested in hosting a coding workshop at your afterschool facility? Comment here and let us know!

by tarabrown
5 months ago

Yay! We made it into the top 10!!!!

by jugband
5 months ago

We made a video at the California STEM Summit with Minecrafter JustSlayIt to walk you through how to get started with Minecraft + Computercraft. If you skip to 11:00 you'll see that someone coded an animated gif of Nyan Cat! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J15gVc5jlIg&feature=youtu.be

by tarabrown
5 months ago

If you are a parent or educator, our curriculum will be OPEN and FREE for everyone. Whether you are in LA or Tokyo, you can use it. And hopefully improve upon it! Minecraft is such an amazing community to be part of.

by tarabrown
5 months ago

LittleBits has a Minecraft plugin so you can physically manipulate your world and have Minecraft actions affect your littlebits projects.

by mpinner
6 months ago

My grandsons love Minecraft and I would love for them to learn to code with it. I'm ready to sign them up for your workshops! Thank you for bringing innovating programs to our communities

by esthelaperez
6 months ago

After offering this Minecraft coding program to kids last summer, we found that it dramatically increased interest in coding even for kids who didn't come to the program with a high interest. When kids can see the results of their work in-game in Minecraft it makes coding meaningful and motivating. It would be great to be able to offer this to a diverse range of kids in LA.

by mitomimi
6 months ago

How do I help to get this set up in our LAUSD School in the the san fernando valley?

by binjagosmama
6 months ago

This grant would provide kids access to more than just the software. We also provide mentors that kids identify with, and projects that engage their interests. Research shows that combining these increases engagement. Beyond gaming, students who meet regularly with mentors are 52% less likely to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class. 4. We hope that by helping kids develop positive attitudes toward learning, we can impact absentee rates in Los Angeles classrooms.

Read our blog post for more reasons why learning how to code and access to mentor is so important: http://connectedcamps.com/lam2050/

by tarabrown
6 months ago

Glad to see you're using ComputerCraft!
However, if you are using ComputerCraft in the camps, you should give due credit and mention it on your proposal as well. Very little on the video is regular Minecraft itself; most of it is using the turtle robots from the mod (that's free by the way!)

by Mikkolo
6 months ago

LA 2050, Let's make LA Makerspace the best place to learn, mess around and geek out with science and technology!

by sebastienslek
6 months ago

A great organization working for the greater good... GOGOGO!

by Jeannetteagogo
6 months ago

I had a great time working with this group. It was extremely rewarding to watch the kids see the limitless possibilities of technology unfold before their eyes. This is definitely something that more kids should experience.

by zachary.hart825
6 months ago

Our girls love Minecraft and would love to learn to code using it. Great project for our city!

by diygirls
6 months ago

A fantastic group to work with. The kids love the challenges and I always get to see amazing growth out of several of the kids. It hardly ever feels like homework and the kids get something awesome out of it.

by supremepizza
6 months ago

There can be few solutions to our rising educational, economical and environmental issues as important as or as simple as getting kids excited about solving problems and having fun finding solutions which is what this program does!

by makeventura
6 months ago

Great work with a great org!

by kentnichols
6 months ago

Whenever I visit our Minecraft workshops at local libraries, EVERY SINGLE KID when they walk in gasps and says "Minecraft" with the biggest smile and it's pretty adorable. What also rules is that coding within Minecraft is going to make your game so much better, those people who are making exact replicas of their entire bedrooms at 1:1 scale aren't doing that without scripts to automate some of the work!

by mya.stark
6 months ago

An amazing opportunity to learn, create, and share. I wish adults could go to Minecraft camp!

by heybecky
6 months ago

It’s great teaching coding within minecraft. The kids are totally familiar with the environment and get to solve cool problems within the context of the world like automating farming and mining. You can even create code to build things like towers in the world!

by victorlazo
6 months ago

I love watching my 5 year old son play Minecraft, watching him figure things out and build on them. I think this initiative is incredibly important and support it fully.

by seanbonner
6 months ago

One of the reasons we love teaching to code in Minecraft is that it's one of the most popular games right now and most kids are familiar with it. When you teach kids to code, they are more likely to continue when they are learning in an environment that is fun.

The LA Makerspace has been offering free workshops to kids and families at LA Public Library branches - and this grant will allow us to offer many more opportunities as we can to Angelenos.

Some numbers for thought:

- 64% of LA Makerspace workshops have been offered in areas where over 30% of families live below the poverty line

- 24% of LA Makerspace workshops have been offered in areas where over 50% of families live below the poverty line.

Thank you for your support!

by tarabrown
6 months ago


by tarabrown
5 months ago

Yes littlebits told us they were working on it and we look forward to trying it out.

by tarabrown
5 months ago


by mya.stark
5 months ago

Thank you! Minecraft is such a great platform for learning.

by tarabrown
6 months ago

@binjagosmama if you are ready to run coding in Minecraft right now, reach out to hello@connectedcamps.com. If you are interested in being one of the afterschool programs that will be the beneficiary of this grant please email awesome@lamakerspace.com.

by tarabrown
6 months ago

Thanks for the feedback. Not all of the proposal is included here for public viewing. We definitely give credit in our instructions because everyone has to install it. :)

by tarabrown
6 months ago

Moms, Dads and of course the kids really enjoyed the Minecraft coding workshops you led at the recent InnovatED conference!

by tarabrown
6 months ago

We were psyched to see Mom/Daughter pairs learning to code in MInecraft at our recent InnovatED event!

by tarabrown
6 months ago

I know firsthand that parents and educators have a bit of fun with it too. :D

by tarabrown
6 months ago


by mya.stark
6 months ago

So excited to hear that!

by tarabrown
5 months ago

glad you enjoyed it!

by hobbesdream
5 months ago

I should also mention that although the video shows the turtles we won't be only using ComputerCraft.

by tarabrown
6 months ago

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Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

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Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

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Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015