Minecraft and LEGO History
Two articles tell the surprising stories behind Minecraft and LEGO bricks.
Students will learn about the history of Minecraft and LEGO bricks as they compare and contrast these popular playthings.
Compare and Contrast
Social studies: inventors, world cultures
Compare and contrast, vocabulary, close reading, inference, informational writing, key details
This article and lesson support the following standards:
Common Core anchor standards: R.1, R.4, R.9, W.2, SL.1, L.4, L.6
TEKS: 3.2, 3.4, 3.13, 3.20a, 3.20c, 3.29, 3.30
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Explore Text Features/ Set a Purpose for Reading (10 minutes)
• Have students look at the spreads on pages 16-17 and 18-19.
• Direct students to the labels in the upper left corner of page 16 that say “Paired Texts” and “One topic, two stories.” Ask students what the one topic is. (popular things to play with)
• Ask students: What do you think Minecraft and LEGO bricks might have in common? Have them name some similarities and differences between the two.
• Every story in the magazine has a Think and Read box at the beginning. It gives students a question or an idea to focus on as they read. Call on a volunteer to read the Think and Read box on page 17 for the class.
Preview Vocabulary (15 minutes, activity sheet online)
• Project or distribute the first page of our vocabulary activity to preview the terms in bold in the feature. Complete the “before reading” section as a class or in small groups. Have students complete the second section after they’ve read the article.
• Highlighted words: mined, instructions, struggling, bleak, succeeded, vision
Reading and Unpacking the Text
• First read: Students should read the articles through one time for general comprehension.
• Second read: Distribute the close-reading and critical-thinking questions. Preview them as a class.
• Have students read the story again, as a class or in small groups, pausing to answer the questions.
“The History of Minecraft” Close-Reading Questions (15 minutes, activity sheet online)
• How is Minecraft different from other video games? (compare and contrast) Minecraft is simpler than most popular video games. It has no special effects or instructions. It was created by just one person rather than a whole team of people.
• What does the last paragraph tell you about how Minecraft might be similar to LEGO bricks? (compare and contrast) The last paragraph says that Minecraft is more like a toy than a video game. It’s like building blocks, and LEGO bricks actually are building blocks.
“The LEGO Story” Close-Reading Questions (15 minutes, activity sheet online)
• Why do you think the author tells you about Ole’s children in the first paragraph? (inference) The author tells us about Ole’s kids to show that he and his family are having a hard time because there are so many children to take care of.
• In what way was Ole rich? (key details) He had plenty of wood from the trees around his village.
• The last paragraph tells you that the name LEGO comes from a word meaning “play well.” What does this tell you about the company’s vision? (inference) The company’s vision is to create toys that kids can play with and enjoy.
Critical-Thinking Questions (10 minutes, activity sheet online)
• What are two ways in which LEGO bricks and Minecraft are similar? (compare and contrast) Both were created by individuals rather than big companies. They both started off small and became very successful. Both are used by children to build and be creative.
• What are two ways in which Minecraft and LEGO bricks are different? (compare and contrast) Minecraft is played on a computer and LEGO bricks are played with in real life. LEGO bricks were created many decades ago and Minecraft was created seven years ago.
Compare and Contrast
• Distribute our compare/contrast activity. On your whiteboard or chart paper, make a chart like the one in our activity.
• Fill in the chart as a class, working cooperatively. Have students raise their hands to suggest additions to the chart, or have them come up and fill it in.
• As a class, discuss the finished product to see if students would add or change anything.
• Have students complete the task in the Think and Write box on page 19 in class or as homework.
Show your students what LEGO sets used to look like! This is from the first “Town Plan” LEGO set, released in 1958. The language on the box is Italian: LEGO didn’t come to the United States until 1961!
Fun fact: Billund, the town where Ole started making toys, is home to the first LEGOland theme park. It opened in 1968 and is still very popular!
How is LEGO made?
Want your kids to see exactly how Legos are made? This fun, 5-minute clip takes you through the elaborate production process in the Denmark factory.
Fun Minecraft facts: Markus Persson created the first version of the game in six days—and called it “Cave Game”—and then spent the next two years perfecting it.