The kids just made a Mind Map of 我的世界 (Minecraft), which comes with a life size Herobrine, and Alex – who has a handbag containing her ‘inventory’!
In Chinese, Minecraft is 我的世界, which literally means ‘My World’ and Minecraft is a little like that for kids, it does become their world! The kids have read numerous Minecraft technical books, watched Minecraft parody videos and even wrote their own Minecraft parody, and are becoming experts…so I gave them a task of organising the Minecraft world in a ‘Mind Map’. This has involved a lot of skill…brainstorming words, and popping them into categories, headings, sub headings etc. Then, working out how to display this information colorfully and visually in a ‘mind map’ kind of way for our wall. Of course, they had to do this in Chinese! So it has also involved not only translating these words into Chinese, but finding out the actual terms…eg Minecraft is not translated literally in Chinese, and of course the names of mobs like ‘Enderman’ cannot be just ‘looked up’ in a dictionary! Lots of skills are involved here. Reading wikis in Mandarin were the main methods of finding out official names of Minecraft terms. Some webpages were only in traditional Chinese, so the skill of recognizing traditional characters and converting to simplified was needed. Various tools were used to find out the pinyin of unknown characters. Dictionaries were used to break down the meanings of compound names…so Enderman is 末影人 ， literally ‘end shadow person’. Breaking down names of characters in Chinese can give kids really meaningful and memorable connections to everyday words!
To give an idea of the vocabulary involved in such a task, headings were Biomes – deserts, jungles, ocean etc., Mobs – broken down in hostile mobs – skeletons, zombies, spiders and passive mobs – villagers, animals, verbs like walk, teleport, dig, etc., inventory items broken down into sub headings of natural resources – wood, stone, emerald etc., craft tools – pick axe, shovel etc., enchanting tools….light sources…of course this mind map could get very big, but the kids kept it simple and only the very common things included in each category.
Lucas is going to make a computer mindmap version of our wall hanging, so I will upload when he has finished for any teachers wishing to show this to their class for a similar activity.