Public Research University, the University of the West of England, started a new project that making use of Minecraft to teach the inner workings of diabetes and its adverse effects on the body. The internal components of the body such as organs and cells are difficult to visuals. Most models are restricted to 2D models or the occasional dissection of an animal. An intractable 3D model is often too large to use at home or in a classroom making them ineffective substitutes.
Researchers decided to turn to Minecraft as it is possible to create a 3D model in scale necessary which is valuable as cells are invisible to a naked eye. This is not the first time that Minecraft has been utilized as a medium to engage with the sciences, and since Minecraft is popular with the youth, it has successfully encouraged more children to engage in the sciences as a whole.
In the 2019-2020 school year, the university started the “Building our understanding of diabetes with Minecraft” project, which constructed several massive models of the human body and internal organs. The models specifically focus on the organs that diabetes most affect: pancreas, blood vessels, and various standalone cells. The models range from a simple tour via Redstone powered rails to more interactive systems, where a person can directly simulate the effects of diabetes.
The University of the West of England has found the Minecraft to be a success at helping children and younger students with understanding the visualizing the interactions of diabetes. The university started exporting the models accompanied by a visual tour video and a sideshow aid to public schools across England, Scotland, and Whales. The university wished to perform in-person lectures after lockdowns are lifted across the United Kingdom. The University of the West of England are also challenging more educational institutions to utilize Minecraft and even Lego to create more models to aid in learning.