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Using Redstone in Minecraft Education Edition: A Beginner’s Guide

Teaching with Minecraft makes learning fun and interactive. Adding redstone charges your lesson.
Using Redstone in Minecraft Education Edition: A Beginner’s Guide

Minecraft Education Edition offers a powerful tool for introducing students to basic engineering and logic principles through Redstone. Redstone is the in-game equivalent of electricity, allowing players to create circuits, contraptions, and even complex machines.

screenshot of minecraft searching for redstone

What is Redstone?

Redstone is a material found deep underground in Minecraft. It comes in the form of dust, which can be placed to create wires, or as blocks, which can be used for storage and other functions. Redstone dust carries a signal, similar to an electrical current, that can be used to power various components.

Redstone is in unlimited supply when in Creative mode.

Basic Redstone Components

To get started with Redstone, you’ll need to understand a few key components:

  • Redstone Dust: The basic building block for Redstone circuits.
  • Redstone Torch: A power source that emits a continuous Redstone signal.
  • Redstone Repeater: Used to extend the length of a Redstone signal and control its direction.
  • Redstone Lamp: A simple output that lights up when it receives a Redstone signal.
  • Levers, Buttons, Pressure Plates: Input devices that can activate or deactivate a Redstone signal.

Setup your supplies from Creative mode to ensure access to enough Redstone materials.

Building Simple Circuits

Materials Needed:

  • 1 Redstone Torch
  • 1 Redstone Lamp
  • 1 Button
  • Redstone Dust 

Steps:

  1. Place the Redstone Torch: Find a suitable location on the ground or wall and place the Redstone torch. This torch is the power source for your circuit. It constantly emits a Redstone signal.

  2. Create a Path with Redstone Dust:

    • Hold the Redstone dust in your hand.
    • Right-click on the block next to the torch to place a piece of Redstone dust. The dust will light up, indicating that it is carrying the torch’s signal.
    • Continue placing Redstone dust on adjacent blocks to create a path leading away from the torch.

  3. Place the Button:
    In the middle of the Redstone dust path, place a button. 

  4. Extend the Path to the Lamp:

    • Continue the Redstone dust path from the button, leading it to the location where you want to place the lamp.
    • Place the Redstone lamp at the end of the path.

How it Works:

  • The Redstone torch sends a continuous signal through the Redstone dust.
  • The button acts as a switch. When it’s not pressed, the signal is blocked, and the lamp stays off.
  • When you press the button, it allows the signal to pass through, activating the lamp.

 

A Pressure Plate and Redstone

Instead of a button use a pressure plate. When you stand on the pressure plate it completes the circuit. 

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Creating Contraptions

Once you understand the basics, you can start building more complex contraptions. Here are a few ideas:

  • Automatic Doors: Use a pressure plate as input to trigger a Redstone circuit that opens and closes a door.
  • Hidden Passageways: Create a secret entrance that opens with a hidden button or lever.
  • Redstone Farm: Automate a farm using Redstone to plant and harvest crops automatically.

Automatic Doors Using Redstone in Minecraft

In Minecraft Education Edition, Redstone acts as the lifeblood of complex circuits and contraptions, including automatic doors. Understanding how Redstone interacts with various blocks is crucial to designing functional mechanisms. Redstone dust carries signals like electrical wiring, while blocks like sticky pistons, levers, buttons, and pressure plates can manipulate those signals. By strategically placing and connecting these components, teachers can create engaging lessons that demonstrate real-world concepts like electrical circuits, logic gates, and automation, while giving students a hands-on learning experience they’ll never forget.

Sticky Piston

A fun way to interact with Redstone in Minecraft is to use a “sticky piston.” The piston will push out and retract back in based on if it is getting a connection to the Redstone. 

Press E for inventory and search for “sticky piston” and add it to your inventory. You will also need redstone dust and a Redstone torch. 

Redstone Torch

  • Power Source: The most basic function of a Redstone torch is to act as a continuous power source. When placed, it emits a Redstone signal in all directions except for the block directly beneath it. This signal can power various Redstone components, such as lamps, pistons, and repeaters, within a limited range.

  • Inverter/NOT Gate: A Redstone torch can also act as a simple logic gate called an inverter or NOT gate. When a Redstone signal is applied to the side or top of the torch, it turns off. This means the torch’s output is the opposite of its input. This behavior allows for the creation of more complex circuits and logic-based mechanisms.

Activate the Piston

Place the sticky piston on the ground. Behind the piston, place the Redstone torch. This should immediately cause the piston to extend.

Because the piston is “sticky” you can place any block to the front of the piston. Create a 2nd layer by placing a piston on top of the 1st piston. Tip, you want to face the front of the first piston when placing the 2nd one on top. Stick a block, probably the same kind, to the front of the 2nd piston. The Redstone signal is not reaching the the 2nd piston. Place a block to the back of the piston and above the Redstone torch. This will cause the current to go through the bottom of the block to the piston. Both pistons should. be extended at this point. 

Dig Under the Piston

To create a circuit it is important to create a trail from the Redstone torch. Dig under the piston so that there is a hollow space under the piston. Place Redstone dust on top of the block that is to the right of the torch but down a block. Essentially, this is a stair step concept. 

Continue to dig under your piston and door. You want a depth of 2 blocks EXCEPT for the block under the piston that is only down one block in order to transfer the current down to two blocks. Lay a Redstone dust trail. Extend the dust out so that when you approach the automatic door it will be beneath. your feet. 

The pressure plate activates the Redstone dust one block down to connect the trail back to the Redstone torch. 

Placing a Pressure Plate

When you place blocks above the Redstone dust, it will seem like there is a 1 block gap. Think about the Redstone dust as having a height of one block, where most of the block is invisible. Fill in around the piston/door with blocks. Place a pressure plate where the “doormat” would be. Redstone dust should be below the block with the pressure plate. When you step on the pressure plate, it should interact with the Redstone by turning OFF the torch. 

Try a Pressure Plate on the Other Side

If you want to activate the door coming and going, have a pressure plate on the other side of the door. Note that under the surface level block needs to be connecting Redstone dust. 

Building an Automatic Double Door

Map of blocks for automatic door
Red lines indicate where Redstone dust needs to be placed

To create a double door, mirror the process and have the doors meet where the doors are closed. 

Dig down 2 blocks deep a 3 by 2 rectangle. Extend this rectangle by digging out only one block down on the center block on the long side. Think about this being a step down into the 3×2 pit on each side. Place Redstone dust on top of each block in the pit, including on the “stair steps.” Place a block over the stair step, which should be at ground level. Place 2 blocks of your choosing behind the stair step. Place the piston on each of these blocks such that they extend over the pit. Do this on both sides. Break the bottom block to add a Redstone torch under the block. Add a block to the front, sticky part, of the piston. This will create the doors. 

Fill in the pit around the door and to create the walkway through the door with a block. Place a pressure plate on either side of the door. 

Redstone Repeater

A Redstone Repeater in Minecraft is a block used primarily to maintain, extend, and manipulate the strength and reach of a Redstone signal, which is essential for powering various devices within the game. Functioning much like an electrical relay, it ensures that a Redstone signal can travel beyond its standard 15-block limit without degradation, thereby allowing for larger and more complex builds. Additionally, it can introduce delays into the signal, adjustable in increments, which is critical for timing mechanisms accurately in various Redstone contraptions. 

Redstone Repeater Functions

Redstone repeaters are blocks that perform three primary functions in redstone circuits:

  1. Signal Repeater: They extend the reach of a redstone signal. Redstone dust carries a signal for only 15 blocks; after that, the signal weakens and eventually disappears. A Redstone repeater can pick up the signal and extend it for another 15 blocks. This can be done repeatedly to carry a signal across long distances.

  2. Signal Strengthener: As mentioned, redstone signals weaken over distance. Redstone repeaters not only extend the signal but also restore its strength to maximum. This ensures that the full power of the signal is maintained over long stretches.

  1. Delay Element: Redstone repeaters can introduce a delay into a redstone circuit. By right-clicking a repeater, you can change its delay setting. Each increase in delay adds 1 redstone tick (there are 10 ticks in a second in Minecraft), with the delay options being 1, 2, 3, or 4 ticks. This feature is useful for timing devices or for synchronizing multiple actions in a circuit.

Simple Timed Redstone Lamp

Objective:

Use a Redstone repeater to create a delay in lighting up a Redstone lamp after a switch is activated.

Materials:

  • Redstone Dust
  • Redstone Repeater
  • Redstone Lamp
  • Lever (or any other Redstone switch like a button or pressure plate)

Steps to Set Up:

  1. Place Your Redstone Lamp: Find a suitable location and place a Redstone lamp on the ground.

  2. Attach a Lever: Place a lever directly next to the Redstone lamp for easy control.

  1. Lay Down Redstone Dust: Connect Redstone dust from the lever to where you will place the repeater. Make sure the dust lines up with both the lever and the intended location of the repeater.
  2. Place the Redstone Repeater: Insert the Redstone repeater in the line of dust you just laid. The direction is crucial; the repeater should face towards the lamp, indicating the direction of the current flow.
  1. Adjust the Repeater’s Delay: Right-click the Redstone repeater to adjust its delay settings. Each right-click increases the delay by one tick.
  1. Test Your Circuit: Flip the lever to see the lamp light up after the delay set by the repeater. Flip it off again to see how quickly the lamp deactivates without the delay.

Simple Alarm System with Redstone in Minecraft

Creating a simple alarm system using tripwires and Redstone in Minecraft is an engaging project that helps students learn about circuits and security technology. 

Materials Needed:

  • Tripwire Hooks (2)
  • String (1 or more, depending on how wide you want the tripwire)
  • Redstone Dust
  • Note Block (for the alarm sound)
  • Any Solid Blocks (for structure and aesthetics)

Steps to Build the Alarm System:

Step 1: Set Up the Tripwire

  1. Choose a Location: Find a suitable place where you want your alarm to trigger. This could be across a doorway or a path.
  1. Place Tripwire Hooks: Place two solid blocks spaced apart (as wide as you want your tripwire). Attach a tripwire hook on the inside facing side of each block.
  2. Connect with String: Stretch a string between the two tripwire hooks.

Step 2: Connect the Tripwire to the Note Block

  1. Place Redstone Dust: Start at one of the tripwire hooks and place Redstone dust directly behind the block holding the tripwire hook. Continue laying down Redstone dust in a line or path leading to where you’ll place the note block.
  2. Place the Note Block: Set up a note block at the end of your Redstone trail. Make sure the Redstone dust connects to the note block. Place the note block on a type of block that will give a desired sound (e.g., wood, sand, stone, etc., as each block type changes the instrument sound).

Step 3: Testing and Adjustments

  1. Test the Tripwire: Walk through the tripwire to see if the note block plays a sound. If not, check the connections and make sure the Redstone dust is properly aligned and connected.
  2. Adjust the Sound: Right-click the note block to change the pitch of the note until you find one that suits your alarm sound.

Step 4: Hide the Setup (Optional)

  1. Camouflage the Wiring: Cover the Redstone dust with grass, carpet, or any other decorative block that doesn’t block the Redstone signal to keep the alarm system hidden.
  2. Decorative Touches: Decorate around the tripwire hooks and string to integrate them seamlessly into the environment, like making them part of a decorative doorway or path.

Steps to Connect Tripwire Hooks with String:

Step 1: Place the Tripwire Hooks

  1. Choose Your Location: Identify where you want your tripwire to be. This could be across a doorway, a hallway, or any path where you want to detect entities passing through.
  2. Place Solid Blocks: Put down two solid blocks where you want each end of the tripwire to be. These blocks will hold the tripwire hooks.
  3. Attach Tripwire Hooks: Place a tripwire hook on the side of each block facing the other block. Make sure that the hooks are directly across from each other with no obstructions in between.

Step 2: Connect with String

  1. Position the String: Stand at one tripwire hook and face towards the opposite hook.
  2. Place the String: Select the string in your inventory, then right-click (or use the equivalent action button depending on your gaming platform) on the block with the tripwire hook. Move your cursor in a straight line towards the other hook. As you place the string, it should stretch and connect between the two hooks.
  3. Complete the Connection: Continue placing the string by right-clicking along the ground or the air just above the ground until it reaches the other tripwire hook. The string should snap into place, creating a visible line between the two hooks.

Tips for Successful Tripwire Connection:

  • Alignment: Ensure that the tripwire hooks are perfectly aligned horizontally. They must be on the same level (y-coordinate) and directly opposite each other.
  • Distance: Tripwire hooks can support string connections for distances up to 40 blocks, but the area must be clear of any blocks that could obstruct the string’s path.
  • Visibility: Sometimes, the string can be slightly hard to see. If you’re having trouble, look closely at the path between the hooks, or use materials with contrasting colors beneath the string to make it more visible.

Testing the Tripwire

  • Test Activation: Walk through the tripwire. You should hear a click sound, and the hooks should emit particles to indicate activation. This confirms that the tripwire is correctly set up and functional.

Using Redstone in Minecraft

The applications of Redstone in Minecraft extend far beyond the boundaries of science and technology subjects. By incorporating Redstone into Minecraft-based lessons and projects across any subject area, teachers can offer students a uniquely engaging way to connect with the material, whether it’s through creating interactive historical sites in social studies, animating scenes from literature in English classes, or exploring complex environmental simulations in science.

The versatility of Redstone allows for creative educational opportunities that foster not only technical skills but also critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving abilities. When students and teachers leverage Redstone in their Minecraft projects, they transform the classroom into an interactive learning environment where theoretical knowledge meets practical application in exciting and innovative ways.

Encouraging students to use Redstone also helps demystify technology and engineering, making these fields more accessible and less intimidating. It empowers students by showing them that they can be creators and problem solvers, not just passive consumers of technology. So, as you embark on your next educational adventure in Minecraft, consider how Redstone could enhance your lessons and projects, no matter the subject, and watch your students’ engagement and understanding soar.

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