Friday, November 6, 2015

Exploring Energy

Last week, sixth-grade students in Mr. Bedford's science classes explored acceleration by constructing roller coasters. They focused on the concepts of potential and kinetic energy.   
Students created structures to see what kind of impact would happen once they added a minecart to the design. Did it flow like a real roller-coaster, stop half-way up a loop, fall off the track?  These were the questions students probed as they used MinecraftEdu as their simulation tool.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ooh-la-la! French Chalets!

A great welcome to our French teacher, Madame Mattioli for giving Minecraft a chance in her 2nd year French classrooms this year. She saw the successes that our Spanish teachers had using this tool, and eagerly signed-on to use it. 

Students created French chalets in an alpine environment, then labeled various rooms and items in French to support the vocabulary they had been learning.

The final piece was to give a tour of the house in French. The rest of the class took notes and then gave constructive reviews of the building and described what they liked best about the rooms. All dialogue was conducted in French.  

As an extra incentive to build a formidable maison, each class held a contest. They voted on the best house and yours truly volunteered to print them on our new 3D printer.  Here are the winning designs and one of the artists.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Update on the Settlers - Ransacked by Invaders

Alas, there are no videos at this time. The students had so much fun building their settlement and we didn't want to stop for screencasting. So the teacher, Mr. Fletcher, is letting them show their creations during class.

This was the first time we have completed a project in MinecraftEdu mode. Usually we operate in creative mode to save building time, but Mr. Fletcher wanted it to be a more authentic experience. Students were given only wood and stone to begin with and a few more blocks as deemed necessary for survival.  That worked out very well. Students truly seemed conscientious of materials and also practiced their crafting - making new items from existing materials. That was exactly what the new world peoples would have had to accomplish as well.

But, Monday was their final day in the lab for building. Tensions built as they soon discovered that their fortifications would be put to the test. The world was first saved, then, Mr. Fletcher, impersonating invaders of that time period, ransacked the villages spreading fire and witches and monsters across the landscape.  One could certainly tell the exact moment when mayhem occurred as mixed squeals of terror and delight filled the room.   

I must make one more remark - I am amazed when kids are in here for a week and there are no behavior issues - in any class period. They are so engaged and have experiences that no book or lecture could ever hope to provide.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A new year, a new world

Mr. Fleetcher's 8th grade American History classes have returned to Plymouth to settle new territory. But this time, the world they are in looks a bit different.  I have been working on creating worlds based on real elevation data and was able to recreate the Plymouth, Cape Cod area for these colonists to explore. Students are staking claims and using only resources that they are given to build their colonies. In addition, they are creating constitutions. I have a couple of photos to share now and will post video after they complete their screencasts next week.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

So many little time

Minecraft season started two weeks ago - right after the major state testing was completed. every day now, students have been coming to the lab for various Minecraft Projects. In the past two weeks, every seventh grader came to the lab to build a virtual body system. They have been simply amazing; even more outstanding than the products from last year.  A post highlighting some of the builds is coming soon. 

Meanwhile, a couple of 8th graders (Ramsey and Kathy) from Mr. Waghorne's class have been working on building the Union and Confederate armies along with some of the classic environments and buildings from that time period. We love the NPC mod. I'm sure I'll be highlighting that build next week when they finish.  Well, word spread and Mr. Fletcher's classes want to build Civil War worlds too. 

Next week we'll have a visit from our future 6th graders. A team of 3 have been working on virtual Canyon Vista for the past couple of years for only 30 minutes a day - when they can - during their advisory periods.  We will be showing that video to them when they visit the school next week.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mathrim - a preview by guest posters - Alec and Douglas

Alec and Douglas are both 6th graders and are experienced crafters. After seeing a math world I created based on MisterA's Decimal Triathalon, these students asked if they could make a quest-type world for their math class. 

Although they didn't want to type (they are too busy building), I am posting the words they tell me.  Mathrim will be a world based on the popular game Skyrim. Users will spawn in a medieval setting and go through a world where math challenges are given.  If a user gets the answer right, he can be transported to the next challenge. Otherwise, a wrong answer gives a chance to repeat the challenge.    They must go to villages, up mountains, over lava and even meet a boss creature for the final end challenge.

Well, there you have it.  The world is on paper and the world has just begun taking shape over the past couple of weeks.  They only have 25 minutes a few times a week to work on it, but they are determined to create this.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Crafting your curriculum

The past week I had the pleasure of teaching a different group of students. Along with Irma Bauer, Sara Richards, and Cara Shipp, we hosted a 3 hour workshop on using Minecraft in the classroom. We based it on our own experiences as we four were the explorers delving into the depths of this engaging sandbox game. I think we were able to successfully convince several people of the amazing things kids can create with this tool. 
        Students waiting for the session.

         Students immersed.

           The endergirls!