Blog: Bright Ideas

What you may not know about our Minecraft major (and why your kids will love it)

The Minecraft phenomenon is undeniable. With over 100 million registered users and unrivaled popularity, it's nearly impossible to ignore. And whether your kids are already obsessed with it or haven't shown any interest, you might wonder if investing in a week of Minecraft camp is worth your while.  

To get some insider perspective, we talked to Justin Alle-Corliss, the returning Mod Design with Minecraft instructor at Galileo Summer Quest Oakland. 

Justin at the Galileo HeadquartersJustin isn't who you might imagine teaching a coding class. A writer and photographer with an M.A. in English, Justin was teaching through the Institute of Reading Development when he learned how excited his students were about Minecraft. It captured his imagination not only as a teacher interested in his kids, but as a student of English as well: "When you're writing, you can build anything your mind can imagine with words on a page," he explains. "In Minecraft, you can build anything your mind can imagine on the screen. It's a game where anything is possible."

So what exactly does a summer of Minecraft at Galileo Summer Quest make possible? Here's Justin's take:

  • Awesome coding skills: Justin notes that parents are often "happily surprised" to discover that our Minecraft major isn't just "playing Minecraft all day." In fact, kids are spending the majority of their time learning the basics of Java programming and figuring out how to custom code their own environments, characters and rules. It's a great way for tech-focused kids to hone their skills, and for a whole range of other kids to get engaged in coding.
  • Boundless creativity: Minecraft is a game that gives players a more-or-less blank slate and "encourages them to build whatever they can dream up." In Justin's class last summer, for example, he had campers who built everything from a Parkour Mod with an obstacle-filled course to an Apocalypse Mod made of burning lava blocks to a Candy Mod featuring some hopping-mad cotton candy. And the creativity wasn't limited to his campers—Justin got so inspired he even wrote a Minecraft poem (more on that later).
  • Balance and collaboration: Our Minecraft major at camp—like the Minecraft user base itself—includes a refreshing balance of boys and girls. We also welcome campers of all experience levels, which provides "a great opportunity for more advanced campers to mentor those who are just getting the hang of Java coding." Plus, when you're in a room full of other modders, "you can turn to your partner and say, 'hey, check this out!' and have a laugh. It's a collaborative environment where kids get to talk, share ideas and get feedback to improve their work."
  • Lots of camp fun: Because camp is more than just your major, we make sure campers' coding is complemented with plenty of non-screen time—to talk as a group, share presentations and head outdoors for activities. "You're coming to camp. So you get the fun culture of Galileo, the integration of the innovation approach and the chance to give and get support from kids who love the same stuff you do."

So there you have it—there's nothing quite like coding, creating and collaborating with Mod Design with Minecraft at Galileo Summer Quest. But if you're still on the fence, check out the Minecraft poem Justin wrote. How could a game that inspires this kind of creativity not be worth a try this summer? 

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Modding Minecraft
A poem by our Galileo Summer Quest Lead Minecraft Instructor, Justin Alle-Corliss

package mymod;

import mymod.poem,.MyPoem;

/*     MOD INFO */
    @Mod( modid = "mymod", name = " Vitality Mod", version = "1.0")
    @NetworkMod(clientSideRequired=true, serverSideRequired=false)    

public class Main {

/*    PROXY INFO */
    @SidedProxy(clientSide = "mymod.proxies.ClientProxy", serverSide = "mymod.proxies.CommonProxy")
    public static CommonProxy proxy;     

/**    

* DECLARATION SECTION

* *********************************************************** */

//  DECLARE THE POEM
/** Vitality is a code
a rough ribbon in a sandbox
where you can create dinosaurs and
instantiate your dreams instantaneously
fly freer than the fullest of sails across
a sea of gooey marshmallow and lava ore
build a glass castle with water slithering
softly out from the uncovered balcony
where the old blue infinity pool chortles,
“Oh it is JUST a GAME” of us, of you
who knew that painting 16x16 pixels
could make me as powerful as
Picasso color cubing Guernica
Is just a game to you because
You are only just living mine */  
public static Poem MyPoem_1;

/* ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ */    

    }

@EventHandler    

    public void preInit( FMLPreInitializationEvent event )

{

/**    

* LOAD SECTION

* *********************************************************** */

//  LOAD THE POEM

/** Vitality is a code you
craft painfully up and down turned
around inside out of the picture boxes
hanging on one corner word and pulling
it towards another word delete del
ete is Wolf’s favorite meat, so throw
it out, pick it up, kill your Creepers,
revise, edit, reset perspective, vivre.
Erase period Retype it to see new
choices. Playing the game with set
parameters (2040, 3, 3.0F, true, "MyPoem_1")
you’ll miss the finer gems buried
under 116 layers of dirt, coal, iron,
and gold. Is not what you’re after
the diamond in the tutorial is the:
Crash.

Toubleshooting;
I always wondered why they call it trouble shooting.
I never shoot my trouble, but if I did here’s what I’d do:

  1. Isolate the issue
  2. Ask myself why
  3. Never give up */

/** itemID, healAmount, saturationModifier (f), isWolfsFavoriteMeat, Texture Name */
MyPoem_1 = new MyPoem(2015, 18, 20.0F, true, "MyPoem_1").setAlwaysEdible().setCreativeTab(CreativeTabs.tabPoem);
GameRegistry.registerPoem(MyPoem_1, "MyPoem_1");
LanguageRegistry.addName(MyPoem_1, "Poetry"); 

/* ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ */    

    }

@EventHandler    
    public void preInit( FMLPreInitializationEvent event )
{
/**    

* RECIPES SECTION

* *********************************************************** */

//  POEM RECIPE
//** Vitality is a code you “recipitate”
from simply complex dreams, cracked
valleys of deadening thoughts in spaces
are important – you can deletespacesto
make your recipe work in any directional
column, but remember just in “variety
is the spice of mod” to add variance
to those colors we ever so slightly
change their value to hue we feel
inside because death is clearly alive
under 116 layers of dirt, coal, iron,
and gold. Is not what you’re after
the diamond in the tutorial is the:
Crash.
Who knew that writing letter by letter
could make you as powerful as
Shakespeare playwriting
The Tempest
Is just a game to you
because
You are only just living ____
craft */

   GameRegistry.addRecipe(new PoemStack(MyPoem_1, 1), new Object[]
{
           "SSS",
           "SSS",
           "SSS",
       'S', Poem.imagination,

   });

/* ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ */    

    }

@EventHandler
    public static void postInit( FMLPostInitializationEvent event )

    {

    }

}