Immersing students in Minecraft’s Mini Melbourne

Mini Melbourne is a Minecraft virtual city created by the Department and the Metro Tunnel Project as an education resource. 

Students from Numurkah Secondary College, Watsonia Primary School, Brentwood Park Primary School and Woodend Primary School were among the first to explore the new Mini Melbourne in Minecraft: Education Edition at its launch last week.

‘I like that you can go into the trams and trains and I also like that you can go into the cathedral,’ Year 4 Woodend Primary School student Felix says.

Year 5 student Shelby from Watsonia Primary School says she ‘found the Arts Centre, Eureka Tower, Yarra River and lots more.’

The making of Mini Melbourne

Using Metro Tunnel data, Victorian teacher and Digital Learning Coach Stephen Elford – known to students as the ‘Minecraft guru’ – created the exquisitely rendered and animated 600,000 square metre section of Melbourne. 

Mini Melbourne Minecraft
Students explore Mini Melbourne

Stephen also created the game mechanics for the exciting Archaeological Adventure activity in Mini Melbourne, in which students try a true-to-life virtual dig at the Metro Tunnel site in Swanston Street.

‘The Archaeology Adventure is a fully supported lesson that provides students with a unique opportunity to explore Melbourne’s past, while learning about what it is like to be an archaeologist living in Melbourne’s present,’ Stephen says.

‘The virtual dig site houses some of the oldest buildings from European settlement, with some finds predating that settlement. Students find artefacts that were actually uncovered onsite and they are also tasked with explaining the relevance of these finds and what the sites may have been in the past.’

Year 5 student Mason from Watsonia Primary School says the adventure has taught him that archaeology is ‘not all dinosaur bones under the ground, and you can find many things.’

Year 5 student Finn from Watsonia Primary School says he found lolly jars and shop receipts.’ ‘I also found broken artefacts,’ Finn says. ‘As soon as I saw sparkles, I started to dig slowly, so I didn’t break the artefacts. The shop receipts were made in 1920-1950, the Freddo Frog advert was made in the 1930s and the lolly jars were made in the 1920s.’

From history to geography and coding, Mini Melbourne opens up endless learning opportunities, Stephen says.

‘Mini Melbourne provides students with an amazing opportunity to explore many different facets of Melbourne, from our city’s multiculturalism, to the architecture of key buildings and the stories behind monuments that mark significant people or events,’ Stephen says.

‘Students can also build their own interpretations of some of Melbourne’s key alleyways, arcades and lanes for possible inclusion in future updates. There are many suggested activities students and teachers can engage in within this world, with more being added regularly.’

Accessing Mini Melbourne

Microsoft’s Minecraft is an open world video game that allows players to roam virtual worlds and create their own cities.

Mini Melbourne forms part of Minecraft: Education Edition, a safe classroom version of the game. Teachers can use Minecraft: Education Edition to support teaching and learning in a range of subjects including science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). It also encourages teamwork, collaboration and enhances problem-solving skills.

Minecraft: Education Edition and its Mini Melbourne world is available to all Victorian government schools and features lesson plans for all year levels.

If you have Minecraft, you can also download the public release version of Mini Melbourne. You can access both versions on FUSE.