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.

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.

What’s for Dinner Stop Motion

Mrs. Corbett’s class created stop motion videos to demonstrate their understanding of food chains and webs in various habitats/biomes. Check them out below!

All Videos

North American Forest

Desert

Savanna

Arctic

Ocean

Rainforest

Students also reflected on their creations and on the Breakout Edu game they played in class.  Check it out here:
FlipGrid Reflections 

Cross posted on the Oak Grove Digital Archive.

3rd Grade Green Screen Explorer Videos

Third Graders used a green screen to record part of their performance for PTA.  Students acted, filmed, and edited their own explorer videos (using the app Green Screen by Doink) in the Makerspace for this project.  If you missed the performance, you can check them out below!

Explore All Videos

Conversations with Characters

Mrs. Barger’s class has been reading Howliday Inn and Blood on the Water.  They designed a 3D model of a character from one of the books, then used the app Chatterpix to animate their characters.  Take a listen below!

 

Chester from elemitrt on Vimeo.

Harold from elemitrt on Vimeo.

Jill from elemitrt on Vimeo.

Harold from elemitrt on Vimeo.

Harrison from elemitrt on Vimeo.

Chester from elemitrt on Vimeo.

Readbox by Mrs. Myer’s Class

IMG_0456

Mrs. Myer’s reading class created a “Readbox.” If you scan the QR code on the books they posted, you’ll see a student created video trailer.  To create these videos, students first made characters and settings out of craft and art supplies.  Then these used these with the iMovie app on the iPads to create their trailers.

Check out their videos below or in the hall outside their classroom!

Readbox Trailers