Emily Boutard miniatures
Emily Boutard's miniatures feature in ACMI's Story of the Moving Image museum

Teaching with videogames: tricking the eye with Minecraft

This is an exploration of how to make things look miniature or how to use miniatures to make things look larger. It could be all about tricking the eye but there is some serious design that goes into to making the trick effective.

Minecraft is in itself a virtual miniature version of the world. It gives us a chance to imagine, design, plan, prototype and develop ideas in a miniature form. Miniatures can be used in visually and physically in many places; for pre-CGI cinematic effects, in architectural models, for train sets, doll houses, in wargaming and collectibles.

Working in teams students are invited to select one of the suggested challenges to explore how Minecraft can be employed to creatively ‘trick the eye’. What can Minecraft bring to our exploration of the world of miniatures?

Year levels: 6–9

Subject areas: Multimedia, history, digital technologies, media arts

Suggested duration: 3–5 lessons

Technology required:

  • individual devices (or adapt to work in small groups) with pre-installed Education edition of Minecraft
  • depending on the activities you choose, screen recording capabilities and AR apps (see lesson plan for details)

Download the full lesson plan

The lesson plan includes links to the Victorian Curriculum, indications of lesson timing, and ideas for differentiation and assessment.

Harryy Potter miniature

The miniature model of Hogwarts Castle has been used for every one of the Harry Potter films. Source: Daily Mail.

In this lesson, students will

1. Research the use of miniatures for cinematic effects, architecture, urban planning, doll houses and other contexts
2. Explore professional miniatures made for tv and film special effects
3. Build a doll house, movie set or green screen effect in Minecraft, and record to create content
4. Work with an AR app to bring Minecraft creations into real life settings

By the end of this lesson, students should

how interactive digital media and games can be used to create new media artefacts
be able to
design visual or multimedia artefact that leverages Minecraft as a digital miniature
skill in integrating tools and digital media (app smashing tools, games, digital practices etc)

Authorial credit

You are free to copy, communicate and adapt this lesson plan which was created by Bron Stuckey and ACMI and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.