Designing Animal and Plant Cells in Minecraft Edu

I had a chance to work with Mrs. Scott’s 5th Graders are Fort Lewis last week as they worked to design plant and animal cells in Minecraft Edu. I love this activity for so many reasons, but most importantly, the conversations that ensued as students worked in small groups to design and build their cells.  If you stood in the middle of the room and just listened, you could hear so many things going on that we strive for in classrooms:

  • Meaningful discussion of a topic using vocabulary as they discussed which materials to use for their cell parts and why.
  • Embedded use of the writing process as students worked to label and describe cell parts. It mattered to them that their spelling and grammar was correct.
  • Collaboration and communication skills being used as students worked to explain their ideas and build their model together. Students who were more versed in Minecraft helped those who weren’t, and there was great discussion and compromise as they decided exactly how to build their project.

I wish I could capture all these things to show other teachers, but I haven’t found the best way to do that yet.  There’s nothing like standing in the middle of it.  So this post is my attempt to show what I can.

To begin, we discussed the design challenge and the expectations of students when they worked in groups in Minecraft. We talked about the different types of players in Minecraft projects.  (The chart below was helpful later in class for students who began wandering off to do their own thing or destroying others work.  Group members were able to quickly name behavior and redirect their errant group member.)

minecraft directions

Then, students had 10 minutes to talk about what they were going to build and make decisions such as who would host the world, what jobs each group member would complete, and basically how they would accomplish the task.  It was tempting to skip this part and just jump right in, but I think the upfront discussion lead to better group work once students were in the game.

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Each group picked a person to host the world, and all the other players in the group joined that world. They sat at tables together so they could easily talk in real life while working together virtually.  I have found this setup works really well for small groups.

Finally, at the very end of the time, students recorded a tour of their world using Flipgrid. I know that the tours would turn out better with screencasting software, but we didn’t have that option this time so I just grabbed iPads and had them record on one computer.

You can check out their tours here:

https://flipgrid.com/9d49110d 

I love how all the groups approached this challenge differently.

If you want to try out this design challenge in your own classroom, here is the design brief: Plant and Animal Cell Design Brief

We just used the Blocks of Grass world in creative mode.

A huge “thank you” to Mrs. Scott for always being willing to collaborate and integrate technology.

*This lesson originally came from Joshua Thom and a lesson he posted in the Microsoft Community.  You can view the original lesson here: 8Bit Cell Tour I adapted it a bit to align with the Children’s Engineering Design Model.

**Cross-posted on The Learning Collaboratory here: Designing Plant and Animal Cells in Minecraft Edu

Bitmoji Profile Pictures (and some educational ideas too)

So I’ve had a couple of requests for directions on making Bitmoji icons for Office 365 email.  To make this a little more “educational” I am going to add that once you learn how to do it, you could considering making Bitmoji stickers for your classroom.  I’ll add a link for directions on how to do that at the bottom.

To Create a Bitmoji Profile Picture for Office 365:

Set Up Your Bitmoji on Your Phone

  • Download the Bitmoji app to your phone (if you don’t already have it).  Create your account.
  • Customize your Avatar on your phone.

Install the Bitmoji Chrome App on Your Computer

  • Open Up Chrome and install the Bitmoji Chrome App.
  • Login to the Bitmoji Chrome App with the same login as your phone.

Save a Bitmoji to Your Computer

  • Click on the Bitmoji Extension and find the Bitmoji you want to use.

extension

  • Right click on the Bitmoji and choose Save image as….  Save it to a place wehre you can find it again (maybe your desktop).

save as

Change Your Profile Picture in Office 365

  • Now login to Office 365 Mail.
  • Click on your profile picture (it may just be your initials) in the top right corner.

office

  • Click on the picutre icon.

pic

  • Choose Upload a new photo

upload

  • Adjust the photo as needed and then click Apply.

apply

Using Bitmoji in the Classroom

After you’ve customized your email, you may want to consider using Bitmoji in the classroom!  Check out this great blog post about how to make Bitmoji stickers!

https://mymathscape.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/why-and-how-i-bitmoji-in-my-classroom/

mymathscape.wordpress.com
Why I Bitmoji? If I’m being completely honest, I bitmoji because I am obsessed and I find joy in sending and receiving bitmoji. And all the cool kids are doing it!

 

Laptop Collection Directions

Backing Up Files in One Drive

Backing up Files in One Drive Handout

Backing Up Book Marks

Below are directions for exporting bookmarks in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer.  You can export the bookmarks and save them in OneDrive, then after you get your new laptop you can follow directions to import bookmarks.

 Google Chrome:

https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/96816?hl=en

Mozilla Firefox:

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/export-firefox-bookmarks-to-backup-or-transfer?cache=no

 Internet Explorer:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/211089/how-to-import-and-export-the-internet-explorer-favorites-folder-to-a-32-bit-version-of-windows

Roanoke Mini Maker Faire

The very first Roanoke Mini Maker Faire is coming to the Science Museum of Western Virginia on April 22 from 1:00pm – 5:00pm, and I am beyond excited.

What is a Maker Faire? 

MF_RobotA Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these “makers” to show hobbies, experiments, projects. We call it the Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth – a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness.  There are many Maker Faires across the world, and it’s so cool that Roanoke will have it’s very own AND that our students will be able to attend and participate in this global movement!

What will you see and do at the Roanoke Mini Maker Faire?IMG_8095

Students from all over the New River and Roanoke Valleys will be showing off their Maker skills – from lip balm to an interactive ocean exhibit to a dancing troupe of robots and much more.  Other Makers will be there too, including the Roanoke Robotics & Makers Club with their retro arcade games and robots.  There will be a chance to make Milkweed Missiles with kids from Green Valley Elementary and talk to the Wind Turbinators from Valley Elementary, and all sorts of other opportunities for kids (and kids at hear) to build and make.  All ages are welcome to attend, and it’s FREE!

Big Thanks!

Karen Richardson from The Virginia Society of Technology in Education and Hannah Weiss from the Science Museum of Western Virginia have been instrumental in getting this event to happen in our own backyard, and I am so grateful for their expertise and hard work.  Checkout the website for the event, reserve your free tickets, and check out the list of Makers that will be there.

We hope you will bring the whole family and stop by to glimpse the future and get inspired at the Greatest Show and Tell (on Earth)!

MakerFaire_GreatestShowAndTell_A

 

 

 

Water Conservation Projects with Adobe Spark

After their experience with their Level Up Village Global Scientists projects, students in Mrs. Meredith’s class wanted to create a media message to encourage people to save water.  They had learned that, in their community, water waste was one of the biggest issues. Check out some of their water conservation projects using Adobe Spark.

Morning Group

Afternoon Group

These students are helping make our world a better place! This project addressed Sustainable Development Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation.  Learn more about the SDGS here – http://www.teachsdgs.org/

This project was also posted here: Fort Lewis Digital Archive.

Green Screen Resources

Using Green Screen by Doink App

Directions for using Green Screen by Doink app

Tutorials from Do Ink

Places to get free picture/videos

Other Resources

Check out this Flyer for Tons of other resources, ideas, and examples
Green Screen Magic by Janet Corder and Joan Gore

CuePrompter is a free online teleprompter. Write or cut and paste your script in the teleprompter window. You can change the font size, colors and prompter window.