Challenge 2! (Optional!) Learning in Context in Minecraft

For our second challenge, I want to model the way a lesson on non-fiction reading could aligned with CCSS and be adapted to Minecraft. If you blog about this, think about the ways you demonstrated the standards, and the extent to which you feel you understand the overarching concepts. 

Choose a group to be a part of from the two outlined below. Use #mcedu to find other members of your group. 


Group 1: You are leaders in post WW1 Germany. The Fuerhrer has just come into power, and he has laid the groundwork for creating a strong Germany, and rebuilding the German Army. Central to this idea is encouraging women (who are still mourning over their losses in the war) to have children. Only through a strong and pure Aryan nation can Germany re-emerge from the ruin of WW1 to glory again. You are tasked with insuring that German women feel pride in Motherhood, and you are tasked with creating brochures, reading materials and signs which will help them to see the responsibility they have to Germany to have many children who are of pure Aryan decent, so that Germany can once again be strong. This is your role, and this is your duty to the German Nation and to the Fuerhrer. If you do not succeed, you know that the consequences will go beyond losing your station. You may well lose your well being and your newly stable country. The world has crippled Germany after WWI, and it must rise again!

Group 2: You are Advocates for Women in Germany. Women have lost their husbands and children in World War I, and they are suffering a crisis of poverty and identity which is impacting their well-being. Women are poor and depressed and feel they have no choices and no way forward to rebuild their lives. Many live on the streets or with family, are members of the defunct German intellectualist movement, and have no wish to remarry or build new families. In fact, there are few men if they did wish to do so because of the toll that the war took on the country. Women long for a sense of purpose, and need a way to make a living independent of being married. You know that there are many positions available which women could hold in the German workforce, and you see that in places like the United States, women’s rights are taking hold. Women who work seem to be healthier and more fulfilled than those who do not, particularly if they are single and have lost loved ones. However, the Fuerhrer has limited women’s opportunities to work, and has intimated that it is their patriotic duty to remarry (within the Aryan race) in order to strengthen the nation. Your goal is to help women find their identities, and key to this is allowing them time to heal, choices in how to live their lives, and an ability to be productive in the German workforce.

Our game this evening is designed to meet the following standards:

Key Ideas and Details:

Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text.
Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).
How will I meet these standards? 
You will partner with your group to build an area for the people of Germany. Remember, you are rebuilding after the destruction of WW1.  If you build as a leader of Germany, your objective is to take on the characteristics of German Leaders at the time that our reading took place. If you build as an Advocate of women of Germany, your objective is to take on these characteristics.

Key Ideas and Details:

Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
In the areas that you create, create short reading materials for the citizens of Germany, advising them of their best way forward. That is, if you are a Women’s Advocate, advise women how to read the propaganda created by the German Leaders. If you are a German Leader, advise Germans of their responsibility to the nation. Be very specific, citing examples from the readings, and if you’d like, other resources. If you cite a resource, be certain to include the URL of that resource. 
Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text.
Create signs which share with Germans the main points of the text which advocates best for your population. 
Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).
Create a virtual diorama within Minecraft of the way Germany would look if your group’s wishes were to become a reality. 

Assessment Rubric: 
Standard Needs Improvement Met Met with Strength
RI.7.1 Textual advice is very general and/or draws no inferences and/or draws incorrect inferences from Reading 1 and Reading 2. Specifics from Reading 1 and Reading 2 are cited in the textual advice provided. Inferences made are reasonable. Many specifics from Reading 1 and Reading 2 are cited in the textual advice provided. Inferences drawn from these specifics are compelling and convincing.
RI.7.2 Central ideas from Reading 1 and Reading 2 are not correctly identified. Central ideas from Reading 1 and Reading 2 are identified in a very general way; however these ideas may not run throughout Reading 1 and Reading 2 or are so general that they could run through many texts, not only Reading 1 and Reading 2. Central ideas are drawn in an insightful and high level manner. These ideas run throughout Reading 1 and Reading 2.
RI.7.3 No demonstrated awareness of the way that central ideas of Reading 1 and Reading 2 would impact individuals, events, or ideas. Generally accurate depiction of the way that central ideas from Reading 1 and Reading 2 would impact individuals. Specific and compelling depiction of the way that central ideas from Reading 1 and Reading 2 would significantly impact individuals, events or ideas.
*Evidence of meeting the objectives: 
  • Screenshots of the books you create
  • Screenshots of the signs you create
  • Screenshots of the diorama you create


  • Video walking us through your creations

Send this evidence to and post it on your blog for this week.

*Each individual should provide their own evidence! Badges are awarded to individuals – not groups!


If you meet all standards, you will be awarded the following:

Lit 1 Badge

Required Reading:

To Be German Is to Be Strong

by Gertrud Scholtz-Klink

German women of all classes and organizations stand before the Führer at the beginning of the new year and thank him for preserving the life of our people, and for helping it to find itself again. We have done our best to do our part in helping our people to “find itself again,” and in making that real to all our women and girls. What we did not accomplish in past years will be done in the future. This we believe more than ever before, since despite all the difficulties we faced in the past year, it was a year that uniquely tested our strength, which therefore grew.

The men and women of this people, in their hundreds and thousands out there in local groups and counties, know that these strengths that were so desperately needed could grow within them because the Führer believed in the goodness and strength within them. Therefore, as his followers it is our greatest task to awaken and strengthen this faith in those we are responsible for, and to transform it into action.

This inner command is equally binding for man and woman, for the blue collar and white collar workers of our people.

The National Socialist movement sees the man and the woman as equal bearers of Germany’s future. It asks, however, for more than in the past: that each should first completely accomplish the tasks that are appropriate to his or her nature.

The woman, besides caring for her own children, should first care for those who need her help as mothers of the nation.

This primarily involves thinking about family law and supporting families, youth legislation, and protecting the youth. It also requires thinking about the occupational paths that female youth will follow in the coming years, since some men and women are still unemployed, and some changes in women’s work will therefore be needed. Given our relations with each other, we affirm these temporary measures because we have firm faith that we have the strength to overcome the many present difficulties that our people faces. Our love for our people, however, will never allow these temporary difficulties to cause conflicts only for the sake of conflict, or that they be interpreted by sensation-hungry individuals as a failure of the National Socialist worldview.

We are always being asked if we see everything that has to be done in the area of women’s work. We can only say that each has the right and the opportunity to work with us and to follow the path leading to the resurrection of our people. However, we must sense love and concern, we must see that he comes to us because of a love for his people. Empty intellectual thinking or a superiority complex have never saved a people.

This love should teach us all in the new year to listen even better to life around us, and to do our duties in the place we stand in a way that will make clear its deepest meaning: to become true to our calling as Germans!

Women, I wish to try briefly to make clear what the deepest calling we women have is: motherhood. In the bad fourteen years between 1918 and 1933, motherhood was often robbed of its deepest meaning and reduced to something superficial, something that was even held in contempt. Instead of a child being seen as the deepest affirmation of the woman and of life, it was seen as a burden, as a sacrifice on the part of the woman. A child was often seen not as a great link to God as the creator of all life, before whom we must bow with folded hands and trembling hearts, but rather very often as the result of a weak mind and as an escape from the great events of life.

Many women were superficially mothers, but they had forgotten to subordinate themselves to the law of life, which sees the affirmation of a child as the answer of the woman to her people, and also her contribution to the right of her people to survive.

Transforming the calling of motherhood to the job of motherhood left children joyless, unhappy, without strength or soul. Devilish forces under the leadership of Marxism attempted to lead German women along this path.

It is therefore our task to awaken once again the sense of the divine, to make the calling to motherhood the way through which the German woman will see her calling to be mother of the nation. She will then not live her life selfishly, but rather in service to her people.

We know and believe that all German women will accept this calling over time if we clear the rubble left by a mistaken age. More and more faithful helpers will join our ranks, working cheerfully and strongly as we have done in the past. Not only those women with children will become mothers of the nation, but rather each German woman and each girl will become one of the Führer’s little helpers wherever she is, be it in the labor service, in a factory, at a university or in a hospital, at home or on the high seas.

We have established a chain of helping hands that will grow ever stronger, because that is what our love for our people requires!

We have women who served their people during the Great War, and proved that they placed their people above themselves. Often, they were the first who continued their service in the N.S. movement. They are joined by younger women who came to this movement because they affirmed the life of the nation. They did not ask what would happen. Instead, they were there where they were needed.

For us women, to be German meant, and still means, always to be strong.

Only she can be strong who knows sorrow and deprivation. Overcoming oneself, and life, leads to strength. And that also leads to clarity. Since many Germans must still learn to understand this, all of our efforts will also involve struggle, struggle with each other. In all this, however, we must be strong and cheerful people.

We enter the new year as Germans. That means we want to be alert and untiring, because we want to support each other in everything our nation faces. We do not want to compromise from weakness, but be comrades one to another who can demand the utmost of each other, because we are willing to give it ourselves. Then the work of German men and women will together form the self-aware and proud Germans that we need, since our people must live!

With this will, we all return to work!


Motherhood in Nazi Germany:
The Propaganda, The Programs, The Prevarications

From the years 1933 to 1945, Germany was ruled by a harsh totalitarian regime, led by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Promises of prosperity and a bright future delighted the bankrupt nation, still angry and bitter over its World War I losses. However, Hitler’s plans for success were far more sinister than anyone had imagined; the Nazi party desired control over all aspects of life in an attempt to create social purity. Racial hygiene became a “cornerstone of state policy…with the introduction of legislation designed to improve not only the quantity but also the quality of the Germany population” (Pine 11). This meant exterminating anyone whom the Party deemed inferior: Jews, Gypsies, the mentally and physically disabled, homosexuals, and other minorities. Hitler sought a superior Aryan race, with development of strong characteristics beginning at birth. In order to enhance those deemed suitable, the Nazi party emphasized the family and gave instructions as to how to raise fit children. They also instituted a number of programs aimed at mothers, and gave incentives for having as many children as possible. The Nazi party created political programs and initiatives that molded women into their ideal mother archetype, in order to achieve their quest of attaining a pure Aryan race in Germany.
One of the Nazis’ first tasks was to encourage families to produce as many children as possible. With a greater population, Nazi Germany could flourish as a strong and pure nation. In the time before Hitler took power, the Weimar era, the birth rate was steadily dropping “from 36 births per thousand inhabitants in 1901, to 14.7 births per thousand inhabitants in 1933” (Pine 10). In an effort to change this, the Nazis encouraged motherhood through propaganda in order to sway public opinion. Mothers were esteemed as heroes, and this idea was instilled in children through books and radio programs. One story portrayed a mother’s many tasks when taking care of her children; though her work is difficult at times, she is happy because she is serving her nation. A children’s play also centered on that same idea, but when the children want to give their mother a break, she claims that she does not want to be relieved of her duties because it proves her patriotism (Pine 64-65). Children’s textbooks also included illustrations of perfect families, with both parents present and as many as ten to twelve children around them. With this propaganda, Nazis hoped to instill their prenatal ideology in children at early ages.
The Nazi party also enacted legislative measures to insure that the birth rate would rise. All forms of birth control were outlawed, and harsh penalties in the form of fines or death were in store for suppliers. In January 1941, Heinrich Himmler’s Police Ordinance even went as far as to shutting down contraceptive production in Germany (Pine 19). Abortion was outlawed as well, except in the cases of the socially unfit, where it would often be mandatory. The Nazis also provided benefits to encourage families to reproduce. The already enticing offer of the marriage loan program was improved for those with children. Couples were given interest-free loans if the wife stopped working; additionally, if they started a family, their principal would be reduced by 25 percent for every child they created. Income tax deductions also increased, and parents could take off 15 percent off their income for each child. If a mother had more than six children, she did not have to pay any income tax at all (Koonz 187). When these provisions combined with the steadily recovering economy, Nazi Germany saw a modest increase in the number of births, which helped their plans of fortifying the nation.
In addition to propaganda and legislative efforts, the Nazis also created a number of programs that helped mothers raise fit children for the regime. The first of which, Hilfswek ‘Mutter und Kind,’ was created in February 1934 by the NS-Volkswohlfahrt Nazi welfare organization. Mutter und Kind performed many functions: “welfare and recuperation for mothers, welfare for small children and the establishment of help and advice centers” (Pine 23). All mothers were given aid, as long as they and their children were racially pure and valuable. However, this help was not only given in the form of money and food; Nazis went as far as to set up homes for women who recently gave birth, where nurses would take care of them and their needs. An assistant was sent to their house to take care of the children, and the new mother would travel to a recuperation home, which doubled as a Nazi propaganda tool. “Mothers coming to these homes received a large dose of National Socialist ideology,” (Pine 27) as they learned about the proper role of women and were instructed how to raise strong children for the nation.
The Reichsmutterdienst (RMD), instituted on Mother’s Day 1934, was another Nazi program with the aim of molding motherhood. The RMD set out to train racially valuable mothers to fully understand their tasks, including educating children and maintaining the household. In order to achieve this goal, mother schools were created. The concept behind these training facilities was to emphasize child care and family life to prospective mothers, hoping that they would return to their homes and produce as many children as possible. The Nazis predicted that this would increase birth rate as well as the purity of the new generation. By 1941, about 517 mother schools were operating in Germany and Nazi territories, and over 5 million women were enrolled by 1944 (Pine 75-78). Their plan was working, and through propaganda under the veil of education, many women were “persuaded to devote themselves to National Socialism” (Pine 79).
Another program utilized by the Nazis was the Reichsbund der Kinderreichen (RdK): the National League of Large Families. It was created during the Weimar to boost Germany’s crumbling morale and birth rate. However, the aims of the program became very important after 1933, when the Nazis decided to use the RdK to their advantage. The program was expanded, and the aim became to “change the entire position of the Volk [nation] to one in which the desire for children and for kinderreich families was accepted as the norm” (Pine 91). All negative media, theater or literature regarding large families or mothers was to be destroyed. They distributed propaganda promoting pure kinderreich families. They also had a secondary aim in helping large families when they needed assistance; they gave aid regarding rent, shelter, employment and many other issues. RdK was later reformatted into the Reichsbund Deutsche Familie, Kampfbund fur erbtuchtigen Kinderreichtum (RDF), or the National Association of the German Family, Combat League for Large Families of Sound Heredity. They maintained the same aims as the RdK when it came to encouraging childbirth, but there were stricter regulations when it came to the racial purity of the families. All new members went through a screening process to determine whether or not they were socially suitable. Additionally, it became mandatory for their children to be educated by Nazi officers about proper behavior and service to the nation (Pine 94-95).

By using propaganda and political initiatives, the Nazi party succeeded in creating an ideal mother archetype. They reinforced this ideology with legislative measures and programs to ensure that women were living up to their civic duty. Patriotic German women complied with these demands and produced many children; though modestly, the birth rate increased, and some families had seven or eight children simply to satisfy their government. However, the Nazi party was not concerned with the concepts of motherhood or family structure. These initiatives were self-serving, in that they only wanted a strong, populated nation in order to dominate the rest of the world.


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