Creatively Thinking with MineCraftEDU: Creative vs. Survival Mode

Holy Cow! If you want to force yourself to learn how to play Minecraft/MinecraftEdu in terms of game tactics, building, crafting, etc. then look no further than survival mode. For the first few days I have been just relaxing doing a little here and little there in creativity mode, but if you want to put your finger to the flame go all out in survival.

I died the first three attempts to survive the night. I had no idea what I was doing. I still am not savvy enough to build, craft, dig, etc. Basically, I am not basic skill savvy! However, by the fourth attempt I stopped and started to do some some research and learned more in 10 minutes of survival play than my previous few hours before. Why? You don’t have a choice unless you like being attacked by zombies, fire zombies, bats, arrows, and who knows what else was attacking me.

I checked out the book The Big Book of Minecraft and this book helped me understand that I needed to chop down trees. It took me forever to figure out this whole crafting thing. It is slowly making sense, but for now I had to use the Minecraft Wiki to figure out how craft and build a crafting table. I learned how to chop down trees –> convert to wood planks –> make either sticks, shovels, and axe. From there I could chop down more trees and slowly see the power and necessity for wood in this game.

I eventually built my first little tiny home. I realize I want to go back and build with wood planks so many house upgrades are coming.

Now, I just need to figure out how create light, craft a pickaxe, and keep developing.

It was a bit of a rush when you don’t want to die and the day turns to night.

On the flipside I have spent time in creativity mode. I like this mode because you get everything. You have no stress to worry and can just keep thinking “What if I do……” You can just play. This is where I like to experiment. When I go back to survival I need to learn how to acquire all those awesome things which I have no clue.

In the classroom I could see uses for both game modes. Survival would be a great team collaboration project where students would have to work together to stay alive and make things work. I like that element for them to understand allocation of resources, living dynamics, dividing up jobs, etc. The game provides plenty of social elements along with higher ordering thinking skills to problem solve. I am writing up a bunch of options for using survival mode. I am sure there are so many great ideas out there, but I just have not had time to track them all down.

The creativity mode is a real obvious option as students can build anything. Creativity fits well into any classroom and it just depends on the goals and outcome of the project and classroom.

Finally, I can see why the original Minecraft had no instructions or tutorials. When I played the tutorial world I played to simply get through it. When I jumped over to survival mode, I could not apply anything I learned. It did not stick with me to application. However, the need for survival forced me to learn and I can now recite how to do everything I learned to survive. I still think the Tutorial World is good to start I almost feel like just tossing them in Survival to learn with guidance from the teacher and expert students would be a better option.

I am finding my ideas and thoughts constantly shift as I dig deeper into this world of blocks. Below are some resources that I used with the link to survival mode being a very helpful one along with this book The Big Book of Minecraft which I just bought my own copy. Alright, back to figuring out how to survive day 2 in my CoffeechugSurvival World!

Either way if classrooms had students share their journey and learning I could see a great fit for


Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points.


Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one–on–one, in groups, and teacher–led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Heck, even using Health Literacy standards for survival mode would work.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Utilize interactive literacy and social skills to establish personal, family, and community health goals.

Demonstrate social and communication skills to enhance health and increase safety.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Apply critical literacy/thinking skills related to personal, family and community wellness.

Demonstrate decision making skills.


I continue to see so many connections of using this game in classrooms effectively.

Extra Resources:

Glossary of Minecraft Terms

My YouTube Channels of Minecraft Gaming

Minecraft Crafting Guide

Survival mode guide:

Creative mode, you will not need to use tools, crafting, or worry about being attacked.  It is a sandbox mode of the game.  You have godlike power in the game.  Every resource in the game is in your inventory, and unlimited.



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