My Christmas Python Project 2 – How to learn Python using Minecraft Pi

Even though my first Christmas project turned out to be a bit of a bust, I was still determined to carry on with my Christmas projects, and this one I was very much looking forward to.

On a quick glance, Craig Richardson’s idea was really good. Using the Python track of Codecademy, this workbook provides little coding projects within the minecraft world to work alongside the relevant Codecademy chapter. The premise being that a person uses Codecademy to learn the basic concepts, then here the concepts are applied within minecraft as ‘real world’ practice.

When originally researching python projects minecraft had popped up a lot, but I had always dismissed it as being aimed at children, So far, to some extent, my preconception has been true, with projects being either overly simple, or copy and paste code, without expecting a full understanding of how it works. This might fascinate some children to see the results of their code in acton, but I needed to understand the code I was running, and I hoped that this project would fill in that gap for me.

During my time learning how to code, applying my skills to the real world has been a big issue for me. I have not quite been able to make that jump to applying the skills I have learnt to something outside of an online learning environment. The fact that this can be done with my pi makes this project even more exciting for me. Everywhere I go I hear that the Raspberry Pi is a great tool for learning how to code, but until now I hadn’t really understood how to put this into practice.

Today I made a start working through the book, and I was very pleased with the level of depth and explanation it provided. Obviously I am already way into the Python Codecademy course, so I’m not working through these side by side, but it’s still nice to use the minecraft projects to go back to basics, and reinforce the skills I already have.

The book is listed as a first draft, but so far feels pretty comprehensive. I’ve noticed just a few minor mistakes in the first few chapters, nothing major, but being now 20 months old I’m not sure if it will ever be updated. Those few mistakes aside, this work book is by far one of the best resources I have found for providing projects which not only take my skills outside of a learning environment and into the minecraft world, but provides clear explanations along the way of how your Codecademy skills are being applied within the minecraft API.

So far I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m super excited about working through this. I have always struggled with finding a direction or personal goal for my coding, so perhaps this will provide me with some inspiration for a possible personal minecraft project I can develop at some point in the future. I’m already jumping ahead and seeing what else I can do with the basic code provided from my existing knowledge, and I no longer think minecraft is just for kids.

The only thing not too detailed in the work book is how to navigate using the terminal, but as I was using IDLE and my programs can be run from there, I didn’t have too much of an issue with this. Although it would be nice to learn how to use this for future reference.

If you would like to try Python Programming with Minecraft Pi, you can download the resources here;

Student Exercise and Reference Book
Teacher Notes

API cheat sheet

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