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Coronavirus home lesson plans, coming for free in 'Minecraft'

Our colleague Mike Snider from the USA TODAY Money team is here to share some news about how you can access Minecraft content for free.   

Microsoft wants to help students keep flexing their mental muscles even if they aren't in the classroom, with many schools closed during the coronavirus crisis. 

So kids and parents can explore some free "Minecraft" challenges, made available for free today through June 30 in the Minecraft Marketplace, found within the game played by more than 90 million each month.

The special activities, already used by teachers, let users visit the International Space Station, tour landmarks in the Nation's Capital, learn to code with a robot, explore marine biology and explore 3-D fractals.

Microsoft is making special 'Minecraft' educational content available Education News for free. The special activities, already used by teachers and schools, let users visit the International Space Station, tour landmarks in the Nation's Capital, learn to code with a robot, explore marine biology and explore 3-D fractals.
Microsoft is making special 'Minecraft' educational content available for free. The special activities, already used by teachers and schools, let users visit the International Space Station, tour landmarks in the Nation's Capital, learn to code with a robot, explore marine biology and explore 3-D fractals. (Photo: Microsoft)

Released in 2009 as a building game, "Minecraft" became an educational tool, too, after the software giant acquired the game's developer Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014. Now, more than 35 million students and teachers are using “Minecraft: Education Edition” in 115 countries.

Earlier this month, Microsoft made "Minecraft: Education Edition" available free to teachers who have an Office 365 Education account. Now any "Minecraft" user can find these specially-curated dozen activities in a new educational category within the marketplace and download them for free. Usually, players visit the marketplace to buy new adventures created by other creators. 

"Obviously, in the way that schooling is happening now we Press Release Distribution Services For Education thought it was incredibly important that we try to bring that education experience as much as we can into the home where parents are trying to work through work-from-home and school-from-home scenarios to help them out," said Phil Spencer, Microsoft's head of Xbox.

The content can be found on "Minecraft" played across any number of devices including Android & iOS devices, Kindle Fire, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows 10 PCs, Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Fire TV, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets


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