The one thing I really LOVE about using Minecraft in the classroom is the fact that the kids get to do ALL of the creative work. I can give them guidelines and suggestions, but they always have their own ideas and thoughts that they want to follow. They are able to build, modify, and create whatever they want.
But, what I love even more than letting them just create, is watching them plan, discuss, and then see the plans come to life. For some reason, there's just so much more payoff for the students when they are able to watch a few scribbles on a piece of paper transform in to a 3D building right in front of their eyes, and the fact that they are the ones making it happen.
After my students spent a couple of days drawing up their architectural plans on paper, it was time to take them to the lab and bring the plans to life.
Before going to the lab, we did our voting system on selecting a name for the "world". As a class, the students nominated three top contenders out of a list full of suggestions. They then, privately voted on the name they wanted out of the top three. The winner was....
A spin off of New Jersey and our town name of Noel. I'm not sure why or how one of my students came up with it, but the rest of the class seemed to like it. And, one thing I made sure of was not allowing anyone to know who came up with the name suggestions, so that the class was voting on what they wanted, rather than who they wanted.
The students also decided that they wanted to start a completely blank world, versus having a world that already contains some buildings and various terrains. It was against my suggestion, but I honored the students request and went with the completely flat and empty world.
Building day finally came, and the students took off...
|Cobblestone was a popular material among the students|
|In the process of measuring the current perimeter around her base|
|Some students opted to build one room at a time to make calculations easier|
|Some students realized that as long as the dimensions matched, they could get creative on the design|
|It always amazes me how focused they are when in front of the game|
|Height was a subject we had just started to discuss, so that was a hot topic of discussion|
|This student turned his plans sideways to match how it was coming along on the screen|
|The town view projected on the SmartBoard so the class could see how others were doing|
We were in the computer lab for about an hour, and the students realized that there was still plenty that needed to be done in order for them to complete their projects. But, I think they got a really good start and learned SOOOO much in the process. The connections they were able to make between learning area and perimeter from a text book and applying it to "real world scenarios" were amazing. Not just that, but we explored the career of architects, discussed designing homes without becoming an architect, and even went in to some discussion on why it's probably not a good idea to have a bathroom in the kitchen, or only one door in a home.
Real world connection is what it's all about. Really. I may not be able to let my kiddos build houses in "real life" but Minecraft gives them the next best thing: Simulation. It's a life simulator, that they are in control of.
So many exciting adventures to come.