Summer Camps: Zionsville teacher creates summer camp based on Minecraft


By Desiree Williams


Video game lovers are invited to join Indy Stem Camps this summer to adventure into the world of Minecraft.

Matt Mulholland, a veteran physics teacher at Zionsville High School, founded Indy Stem Camps three years ago. He created Indy Stem Camps to target first through eighth-graders and focus on STEM: science, technology, engineering and math.

“There’s a big push in educational circles to try to encourage kids to go into STEM-related fields,” Mulholland said. “There’s lots of job opportunities for college graduates.”

He noticed his own kids were constantly playing Minecraft, which inspired him to learn more about the game and see if he could develop a curriculum around it. He brought in high school students for help, who still return each summer to act as counselors at the camps.

“I realized at that point I was on to something. There was a way that I could help kids learn STEM in the context of a game they already love to play. It was a win-win situation,” he said.

Mulholland calls Minecraft “the ultimate sandbox game,” meaning the kids can produce anything without limitation. At the camp, kids play in a secure server so they only have access to two worlds in Minecraft. Kids can embark on quests in the World of Humanities to earn badges and they also learn how to build and survive in their own society in the Islands World.

There are seven options for Minecraft camps, each with its own curriculum and goals. Mulholland also leads camps about bridge building, catapult building, robotics and more.

The camps are held for three hours each day over five days at Zionsville High School, University High School or Cathedral High School. Kids can attend the morning or afternoon session, or both. Fees vary depending on the type of camp and location.

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