Class project: Tang Dynasty capital city in Minecraft

We finished our collaborative build of the Tang Dynasty capital city of Chang’an and thought it was time to share our work. There were 145 students that worked on recreating a model of the ancient city. We built the buildings over five days and then added “info blocks” that contained a detailed description of the city residents.

It took about two-weeks to completely finish the project. I’m very proud of the work my students did, especially since most had never played Minecraft before this school year. They worked in teams, with each team assigned a city block to complete. Some of the city blocks represented peasants, others merchants or aristocrats.

If you are a teacher or parent and would like to read about it in much more detail, you can visit my teacher blog.




  1. NKCspider

    Those are some really cool designs of buildings you made. It must have taken FOREVER! But it must’ve been worth the time. Anyway i loved it, you should make more videos of awesome looking buildings. I’ve never seen designs like that.

    • John Miller

      Hi NKCspider,
      It took us five days to build the city. I had 150 students working on it throughout the day. It was a CRAZY week, but so worth it. Thanks for the nice comment :-)

  2. Brandon

    Mr.Miller your class is very talented. I can’t believe they made that whole city! I was amazed, as a Minecraft fan as well, this is probably the biggest village I’ve ever seen! How long did this all take? Can’t wait for more videos to come. Great video.


    • John Miller

      Hi Brandon,
      It took us a week to do, but I had 150 students working on it! Everyone did their job and I think it came out great. We have plans for even bigger builds in the near future so stay tuned :-)

  3. Will

    Hello Mr Miller,your video was very creative and I liked your music.
    One of the things I like about it is because it is about minecraft.You and your class did a wonderful job on your minecraft world.How long did it take you?Is this your biggest thing you ever made in minecraft?



  4. jameshk

    Hello Mr. Miller,
    I have found your blog to be very interesting. It is so cool how your class gets to play minecraft in school and build historic sites. Also when your class plays minecraft dose it lag a lot. On your cluster map and live traffic feed how did you change the color ?


  5. Hailey

    your class is very talented you have some really gifted kids.I love minecraft myself but I barley have any time to do that in between hockey.

  6. Michael.M

    Hello Mr Miller.
    Wow your students are amazing!
    I’m good at minecraft but your students are great!
    How did your students (that didn’t know how to play minecraft) learn how to use it that quick?
    Your students are really cool keep up the good work!
    By the way my link to my page is (just copy and paste it)
    And soon i’ll be posting some minecraft pictures of parts of our school!
    I love your blog!

    • John Miller

      Hi Michael!

      Fabulous connecting with you! We love your blog and you can expect many visits from us. We love using Minecraft in our classroom to learn history as well as for fun at lunch time. We will be posting new information about our current build very soon.


      Mr. Miller

  7. Avi

    Dear Mr. Miller’s Class
    I like Minecraft and I see you do too. Those buildings must have been really hard to build and they are so cool! How did all those kids, who didn’t even know how to play Minecraft at first, learn to build such great buildings?
    From Avi

  8. Zachary

    Dear Mr. Millers class,

    I really liked your Tang Dynasty city. I can see that a lot of students put hard work in this. I read your post and I saw that some of the kids never played it before. How did your students learn how to play this. You have 145 students working on it and it is really cool. Your class made me want to play Minecraft. Now I am making a city just like yours.


    • John Miller

      Hi Zachary! Thanks for the kind words. Yes, my students did a wonderful job on this project. They are about to begin building a Medieval village of their own. I can’t wait to share. :-)

      • Zachary

        Dear Mr. Miller’s class,
        I think that it is really cool that you built the Tang Dynasty city and its really cool that your building another one. Your students are going to build one of their own and that is awesome. What is the city you are going to build? Please write back.

        From Zachary

        • John Miller

          Hi Zachary!

          Yes, my students are just about to build their own medieval cities. We will be modeling several medieval cities in England: Winchester, Norwich, Oxford, York, and Canterbury.

          Mr. Miller

  9. Ari

    Dear Mr. Miller,
    I loved your Minecraft build of Tang Dynasty. It is very creative. It is very obvious that you love to have fun with your 145 students. The details are impeccable and show exactly how the town of Tang Dynasty was so beautiful. The way the farm was shaped was very interesting and it was a great idea to use cobwebs as smoke. Did the people of Tang Dynasty really farm wheat, pumpkins, potatoes, and carrots?
    Thank you,

    • John Miller

      Hi Ari,

      Terrific comment! You ask very insightful questions. Yes, they did have wheat, but it was not native to China. The most popular food during that time was rice. I wish they had rice in Minecraft, but we just pretended the wheat was rice. :-)

      • Ari

        Dear Mr. Miller,
        Thank you for your compliments. Since wheat is not native to China, how did they get it? Also, were there potatoes and carrots or did you use those as other types of rice and grain. Did the Tang Dynasty really have houses like that and if so, did they have chimneys?

        • John Miller

          Hi Ari,

          Great questions!They would not have had chimneys like we have today, but cooking was often done inside, so smoke needed to be vented, usually through the roof or side wall. Wheat made its way to China in the BC period, likely from the west (central Asia). Potatoes came to China after the Tang Dynasty, so the residents of our city would not have eaten them. Along with carrots, they still make for good Minecraft crops though :-).

          Mr. Miller

  10. kayla

    Dear Mr. Miller,

    I enjoyed your blog. My favorite thing that you blogged was the Mincraft. The Tang Dynasty the capital in Chang’an blew me away. Your class worked on it very hard with all the details. Your class is very creative.


    • John Miller

      Hi Kayla!

      I’m glad you made your comment because many of my students don’t think they are very creative, even though I tell them they are. They proved it to me by creating such a fab city!

  11. Ms Bee on behalf of the Neinsteins (who are on summer holiday!)

    Mrs Yollis just pointed me in the direction of this wonderful post.Your collaborative build is inspiring! I have been thinking about using Minecraft in the classroom for a while now. I have hesitated because there are mixed feelings about the app most of which I think are based on misinformation. Your build of Chang’an is superb! I am inspired by the fact that so many of you were involved and that it is obviously based on your research and new learning. I will share this with my class, staff and families once school starts back in February. I think I will be back with some more questions, also!

    • John Miller

      Hi Ms. Bee!

      Thank you so much. It’s a labor of love to be sure. There are a great many educators looking to add Minecraft into their curriculum that are a bit hesitant to do so for the reasons that you’ve stated.

      My goal, like so many other MC using teachers, is to provide as much proof of learning as necessary so that others can begin using it with confidence and the evidence to support inclusion into classrooms. I look forward to hearing of your progress and please let me know if I can help in any way.

      Here is a link to my more formal teacher blog where I reflect on this project a bit more in depth.



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