Thursday, 24 July 2014

Winter - Let the Games Begin

We've begun the term in ICT with Games - in more ways than one - thanks to Mrs. Joanne Hodder's brainwave!

I needed something to get me cracking this winter term and I got it. So now I've really had to get to know Minecraft up close. After six months of  resisting what I thought would be a massive learning curve and lamely reassuring parents' misgivings about their kids' use of Minecraft, I'm really delighted to discover that as a learning and teaching tool, Minecraft is impressive. I've got it under my belt now thanks to Liam & McKenzie in Room 23.

Joanne suggested I delve into an engineering focus within our school-wide theme of Transformation.  This simple idea has morphed into a collaborative, self-directed Inquiry: Research, design, construction of various event venues of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and also a refelection process in the form of an illustrated document.
I'll do this with all classes from Year 3  to Year 6 children over the next 6 weeks.

I'd seen Joanne's Room 14 cardboard model-making during the last Olympic Games and knew the kids LOVED the inquiry, group-work, construction and reflection. Initially, I imagined I'd do this using Sketchup (Google's 3D Modelling App I'd used on our PCs a couple of years ago). I quickly realised that this approach couldn't have worked with my full-immersion iPad programme. So Minecraft it became.

A fabulous learning & teaching tool.

The children were given their Learning Intention: To create an arena for your favourite Commonwealth Games event venue using Minecraft.

Each child chose their sport and group members. I assigned each group a default "world", a "host" (i.e. a mature student leader familiar with minecraft) to manage several children's construction projects within the "world".

The only stipulation being that no sporting events were to be duplicated within a world and no Minecraft weapons were to be drawn unless an animal indigenous to the group's world strayed onto the venue and endangered competitors, officials or media commentators.

The class was given a set of Success Criteria. And they were away.

This world (by Room 15 children)
shows 5 distinct event venues. 

The videos below show children taking us on a fly-by tour of what they have created.

Room 15 are Year 3 & 4 children.

A walkthrough of Room 21 children's world. Thanks to
 (Host), Lech, Evan & Jamin

Emma (Room 21) building her stadium.

Finally, a note about the process Reflection Document I've used to get the children to reflect & guide this work. I've found it helps them to stay focused on the learning process. The reflection document completed on the iPad's Pages app is not a formative evaluation but it does help the child and teacher uncover areas for attention. Take a look at the sample reflection from two Year 5 kids.

Any suggestions for improving this template most welcome.

Keep your eyes on the class blogs to see their work.

Here's the planning I've put together around this unit.

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