STAPLETON — A new workshop at the Staten Island MakerSpace will teach kids basic engineering, and a bit of urban planning, using the video game Minecraft.
Starting next week, MakerSpace will host monthly "Friday Minecraft Madness Club" after-school workshops where children will build in the popular sandbox video game, said DB Lampman, teacher of the class and co-founder of the space.
Instead of just leaving the challenges on the computer, Lampman will then teach students how to make real-life objects, sometimes the one they built in the game.
"The idea behind it is for the kids to spend some time working on some projects in Minecraft on the computer but then to take the craft out into the real world," said Lampman. "Making Minecraft to real craft."
One planned activity will get the kids planning the future of Staten Island. Lampman is working on importing a map of the North Shore into the game, allowing students to shape what they think the revitalization of the waterfront should look like.
"The kids can sort of envision what they want in Staten Island in their Minecraft world," Lampman said.
The workshops are designed to teach kids basic programming, engineering, math and computer skills, including how to wire a simple electronic circuit.
The idea from the workshops came from Lampman's 11-year-old son, who wanted to participate in a Minecraft club.
"The reason why we have the MakerSpace is so we can teach people how to build things and make things on a bigger scale," she said. "I kind of want the kids to make the connection between using their imagination to building the virtual world then they can learn some skills to actually build real-life things with their hands."
The classes will be for kids ages 7 and up, and Lampman said nearly 12 students have already registered.
Minecraft is an indie open-world building game that's been described as a digital Lego set that allows players to create almost anything they can dream up using the game's onscreen 3D blocks.
While Lampman wants her students to be able to build concrete objects, she said the game helps sparks children's imaginations and creativity.
"They have total control over their environment and it's kind of never-ending. They can go and they can keep imagining and keep building," Lampman said. "It's a good tool for kids to see the possibilities out there."
The classes will be four times a month, and run throughout 2014, starting on Friday, Jan. 3. The monthly sessions are $40 for members, $20 for siblings and $60 for non-members, $40 for siblings.