March is Women's History Month, for which Minecraft Education Edition has released a new set of lessons focusing on the life of early 20th century activist Emmeline Pankhurst, as well as the contemporary work of Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai.
One of the most important political figures in early 20th century Britain, Pankhurst led a life of feminist activism including, in 1903, founding the Women's Social and Political Union. Unaffiliated to any political party, aggressive in its advocacy, and dedicated to "deeds, not words," the WSPU would put womens' rights front-and-centre of the British political picture, and it and Pankhurst were a key force in winning women the right to vote.
That is of course a simplification of a vast topic, but there's no end of books if you want to read more on Pankhurst (including her own). Now you can also visit a blocky recreation of her world and history in Minecraft.
The lessons see players travelling alongside US Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis, and are part of a series called Good Trouble: Lewis's own phrase for necessary civil disobedience.
The lesson on Emmeline Pankhurst, called Women's Suffrage, takes players back to a time "when women were disenfranchised from the political process, [and] courageous activists like Pankhurst took the fight to the streets, eventually winning their right to a say in the way they were governed. Students will explore Victorian England and help Pankhurst get the word out to eight women who need to know that their time to vote has come."
Malala Yousafzai, as well as being the youngest Nobel laureate in history, is an education activist in Pakistan. Her section, called One Girl Among Many, explores "the context of Malala's struggle for education in Pakistan and why equity in education is so vital to a fair and just society. Then they’ll flex their creativity as they help Malala build a school for local girls!"
The Good Trouble world is available as a login-free demo across platforms until the end of March, and is free to download for Bedrock players on the Minecraft Marketplace.
For any educators interested in using these resources, Microsoft will also be hosting a free webinar on March 18, 9AM PT, in which Minecraft team members will be walking through the lessons and hosting discussion about girls' access to education. You can register for this here.