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What if you were asked to build an entire city in one year? If you’re like any of the hundreds of online students in K12’s National Minecraft Club, your imagination has already started running wild with ideas! At the start of the school year, the club’s middle school students from across the country were given this gaming challenge, and all were invited to share their projects at the second annual year-end Student Showcase!

The National Minecraft Club is one of more than 50 national clubs in which K12-powered students participate. Clubs include educational gaming platforms like Minecraft, as well as photography, music, debate and drama. Led by K12-partner school teachers nationwide, clubs meet online a few times each month outside of regular class sessions.

“Clubs offer the space for hundreds of kids to come together around their shared passions,” says Sabrena Klausman, K12’s Family Services Project Coordinator, who oversees all of the national club offerings. “Participating in these national clubs gives the students socialization time in a safe virtual environment, outside of the rigors of class time and homework.”

This year’s Minecraft Showcase challenge was “Building a City in One Year”. Each month students in grades 5-7 learned about different aspects of urban development, including transportation, infrastructure, emergency services and parks. Working in groups, students picked their own themes, with cities being designed under water, in caves, in medieval times and in contemporary settings. Students took on different roles as the projects evolved. “They each had a responsibility, and the club taught them to collaborate in order to achieve a goal.”

The students then submitted their best build to the Showcase, and teachers and students voted for their favorites in such categories as Best in Show, Most Original and Students’ Choice.

Sabrena highlights that for all the clubs, socialization and an emphasis on cooperative learning are key benefits. The National Minecraft Club gives students an opportunity to demonstrate collaborative teamwork skills, and provides an outlet for community-building with other online learners.

“We want them to engage in something they are truly passionate about,” said Sabrena. “It is paramount that we provide students with a variety of learning opportunities, and give them that space to collaborate, explore and learn.”

To learn more about K12’s clubs and other extracurricular opportunities, visit https://www.k12.com/virtual-school-offerings/free-online-public-schools/student-activities-support.html.

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