The Human Microbiome World Using Minecraft to Enhance Microbiology Learning

Main Article Content

Christopher Vicari
Barry Joseph
Brittany Klimowicz
Hannah Jaris
Shane Asseltine
Joel Levin


We designed an activity-based science curriculum that used Minecraft to support microbiology learning for students enrolled in the Lang Science Program at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City. Minecraft offered an option to consolidate complex science content into digestible activities for modeling concepts and demonstrate student mastery. We will (1) present a background of the course, design processes, and how we used Minecraft in the curriculum, (2) describe the design of the educational Minecraft activities, (3) articulate design issues, adjustments, and constraints, and (4) discuss future changes.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Vicari, C., Joseph, B., Klimowicz, B., Jaris, H., Asseltine, S., & Levin, J. (2019). The Human Microbiome World: Using Minecraft to Enhance Microbiology Learning. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 10(1), 116–130.
Author Biographies

Christopher Vicari, Fordham University |The American Museum of Natural History in New York City

Chris Vicari is an educational technologist at Fordham University. He was also a program consultant with the American Museum of Natural History.

Barry Joseph, The American Museum of Natural History

Barry Joseph was the Associate Director for Digital Learning at the American Museum of Natural History. He is now the VP of Digital Experience at the Girl Scouts of America.

Brittany Klimowicz, New York City Department of Education Public School | The American Museum of Natural History

Brittany Klimowicz is a life science educator in the New York City Department of Education Public School system, as well as part time educator at the American Museum of Natural History.

Hannah Jaris, The American Museum of Natural History

Hannah Jaris was the Senior Coordinator of Youth Initiatives at the American Museum of Natural History.

Shane Asseltine, Momilani Elementary School

Shane Asselstine is a Technology Integration Specialist at Momilani Elementary School, Minecraft Global Mentor, and the Facilitator for Hawaii.

Joel Levin

Joel Levin is co-founder of TeacherGaming LLC. The creators of MinecraftEDU, KerbalEDU.


Belland, B. R., French, B. F., & Ertmer, P. A. (2009). Validity and problem-based learning research: A review of instruments used to assess intended learning outcomes. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 3(1), 59-89.

Black, J. B. (2007). Imaginary worlds. In Gluck, M. A., Anderson, J. R., & Kosslyn, S. M. (Eds.) Memory and mind: A festschrift for Gordon H. Bower (pp. 195-208). Psychology Press.

Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (1999). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. National Academy Press.

Chase, C. C., Chin, D. B., Oppezzo, M. A., & Schwartz, D. L. (2009). Teachable agents and the protégé effect: Increasing the effort towards learning. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 18(4), 334-352.

Claypool, K., & Claypool, M. (2005). Teaching software engineering through game design. ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, 37(3), 123-127. https://

Garris, R., Ahlers, R., & Driskell, J. E. (2002). Games, motivation, and learning: A research and practice model. Simulation, & Gaming, 33(4), 441-467.

Gee, J. P. (2007). Good video games and good learning: Collected essays on video games, learning, and literacy. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Jenkins, H., Purushotma, R., Weigel, M., Clinton, K., & Robison, A. J. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. MIT Press.

Johnstone, A. H. (1991). Why is science difficult to learn? Things are seldom what they seem. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 7(2), 75-83.

Mayer, R. E. (2009). Multimedia learning (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Michael, D. R., & Chen, S. L. (2006) Serious games: Games that educate, train, and inform. Boston, MA.: Thomson Course Technology.

New York State Education. New York State P-12 Science Learning Standards. 2017,

Schwartz, D. L., Blair, K. P., Biswas, G., Leelawong, K., & Davis, J. (2007). Animations of thought: Interactivity in the teachable agents paradigm. In R. Lowe & W. Schnotz (Eds). Learning with animation: Research and implications for design. UK: Cambridge University Press.

Squire, K. (2005). Changing the game: What happens when video games enter the classroom. Innovate: Journal of Online Education, 1(6).