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Discover the World of Molecules with MOLCRAFT, a MINECRAFT-Style Chemistry Challenge

If you know nothing about Minecraft, maybe the best explanation is that it’s the closest thing to digital LEGO. Players are given the freedom to construct everything from houses to enormous, working calculators, with no overarching goal. Minecraft is whatever you want it to be. Its virtual world is intricate and expansive, and can be a powerful teaching tool. When constructed diligently, players can explore geology, architecture, and anatomy. But what about exploring the world of…molecules?

As part of an undergraduate science project, students in the chemistry department at the University of Hull in England have created a molecular Minecraft world called Molcraft, populated by structures of proteins, molecules, and chemical history. It allows you to explore proteins like no other visualization tool around, and has to be a step up from a 2D textbook explanation.

As well as reading about and exploring molecules, Molcraft features puzzles, quizzes, and scavenger hunts, with clues dotted around the world that can be solved with information found during your adventures. And if you complete them all, then you’re supposed to be damn good at chemistry.

You can download the game for free, and all the students ask is that you share your experience and/or results with the Minecraft community via social media, using the hashtag #MolCraft.

Minecraft players, what do you think of Molcraft? Let us know all that good stuff in the comments below!

HT: The Conversation

IMAGE: University of Hull

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