A Makerspace Inquiry Lesson – Minecraft, Yarn, Smoothies and the Honeybee…

What does a ball of yarn, a quilt, a Makespace, the Honey Bee, a podcast, Green Smoothie and a Minecraft Museum all have in common? The following is an example Inquiry Lesson that infuses Maker Space, Collaborative tools, Inquiry and Design thinking, including Minecraft. We facilitated this lesson at the Enrichment and Innovation Centre in our Grade Six Journalism Program, for Gifted Students. This Video is the lesson consolidation. Everything is connected. “How Wolves Change Rivers”. Interconnectivity. We ask: Is Interconnectedness essential for our survival? *How does the interconnectedness of anything change its course or direction in life? *What does it mean to depend on someone or something? *Will the disappearance of the honey bee impact human life at the Continue reading A Makerspace Inquiry Lesson – Minecraft, Yarn, Smoothies and the Honeybee…

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When NOT to use Minecraft in the Classroom

I do not share this post with the intent to judge others in their attempts to educate students by using specific tools.  Instead, I want to encourage critical thinking, reflection and discussion. I share it as a way to ask for support and guidance as to when we should be using Game-Based tools to engage and teach certain content. I struggle with incorporating the popular “Craft Reconciliation” project into my current Inquiry Lesson about Truth and Reconciliation between the Canadian Government and First Nations Peoples. I struggle at the thought of using a tool that for many students is considered a “game” to address such a deep, personal and difficult topic. I do not want to put light on Continue reading When NOT to use Minecraft in the Classroom

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Makerspace, Inquiry and Minecraft – Enrichment and Innovation Centre

I am excited, thrilled and honoured to be given the opportunity to present some of  my experiences as a Teacher and Researcher, in particular how and why I am using Minecraft in my Maker/Learning Space. I look forward to meeting, sharing and collaborating with the many innovative and curious educators that will be attending ISTE and hopefully attending my session on: Monday, June 29, 12:45–1:45 pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) Building/Room: PCC 108 What will I be presenting? Sharing? This year, I co-created and facilitated programming at the Enrichment and Innovation Centre, at the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board. I’ve tried to write and share my experiences and personal reflections throughout the past school year. In one post, I write Continue reading Makerspace, Inquiry and Minecraft – Enrichment and Innovation Centre

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Be PROUD of that “Minecraft Teacher” label (or whatever the label)….

A couple of days ago, I read a couple tweets from a teacher that was voicing thoughts about being labelled as a “Minecraft” teacher, rather than an Innovative teacher that uses many engaging and creative tools including Minecraft. I looked back through the Twitterverse, but couldn’t find the tweets again. First, I think that any teacher, leader or principal  that is labelled a Minecraft teacher should be EXTREMELY proud.  Bring it ON!  Think about it. You are being labelled as a teacher that is creative, open-minded, collaborative and willing to use tools and methods that are engaging and encourage students to venture into ARTS, DESIGN, ENGINEERING and MATH! Not to mention, using a tool that lends itself well to Continue reading Be PROUD of that “Minecraft Teacher” label (or whatever the label)….

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The Road Not Taken – Making, Crafting and Constructing Meaning in Minecraft

The Road Not Taken – Making, Crafting and Constructing Meaning in Minecraft  Designing lessons that foster creativity, collaboration and depth in thinking is multifaceted. We need to use tools that provide an opportunity for interaction and collaboration. This includes a method for students to help one another and provide feedback. The context needs to be relatable and flexible. The content, whatever it is, needs to have value and personal connections and it needs to matter -and if it does, it will have depth and purpose. I offer the following as an example. Summary of Lesson: As a whole class, students would create (Yes, actually build )  the poem “A Road Not Taken” using Minecraft as a Medium (using a Continue reading The Road Not Taken – Making, Crafting and Constructing Meaning in Minecraft

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Minecraft and Fractals – a wonderful pair!

Minecraft and Fractals By: Zoe Branigan-Pipe and Beth Carey We are all familiar with Math Manipulatives and the power of hands-on learning. Minecraft allows students to explore, create, design and problem solve in many dynamic ways. Here is one example of using Big Ideas and Concepts in Math. These concepts, once understood, force learners to use practical math skills in an authentic way. “Today I learned about fractals the mathematics of nature introduced by Benoct Mandelbrot. Fractals are a repeating pattern in all directions with any shape. Inspired by Ancient Egyptian architecture this fractal is made entirely of gold blocks and glass. Although it is impractical it just shows what minecraft can really do”. -Gwen, Gr. 5 Student Big Ideas: How Continue reading Minecraft and Fractals – a wonderful pair!

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Design Thinking ~ Make Urban ReDevelopment a Reality in Minecraft

The purpose of this lesson is to inspire and engage students to use creative and critical thinking skills to make decisions and designs that impact an urban area. This cross-curricular approach to Design Thinking, allows students the freedom to use and connect  their inquires to real examples. The activity is intended for group or collaborative learning and uses a combination of whole class and small group facilitation with access to a variety of tools. The final product is a Design and proposal of a chosen Urban Landscape in their own community. Minecraft (and lego) are ideal platforms for students to use resources and tools collaborative to display their concepts.  The example lesson (below)  was facilitated with a group of Continue reading Design Thinking ~ Make Urban ReDevelopment a Reality in Minecraft

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Design Thinking, Teaching and Learning with Minecraft and Lego

This lesson was facilitated with Grade Five Gifted Students. This is an example of how to combine a variety of collaborative tools (Collaborative thinking/planning, Blog, Web2.0 Doc, Minecraft) with a hands-on approach to building and designing prototypes that focus on world problems. Minecraftedu, large amount of assorted lego, a class full of engaged students and a teacher/facilitator provided the necessary resources.  It was incredible to witness the dialogue, creativity and critical thinking as the students explored and designed their ideas into something concrete.  Inventions Big Idea: How do past and present inventions impact our world of today? This is a sample lesson that can be used at a variety of ages and grades. Because this lesson is based on the concepts Continue reading Design Thinking, Teaching and Learning with Minecraft and Lego

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Thinking through Redstone IN Minecraft

My son compares Redstone in Minecraft to Electricity in the “Real World”. He explains, that this wire like application has endless possibilities when it comes to creating or building machines. I spent some time working with him on Minecraft and noticed his use of patterns when using this application in Minecraft. As he mastered a particular concept (electrical source, flow, breaker), he then copied it over and over to create and customize simple machines. What I was most intrigued with, was not his knowledge of electrical currents or how circuit paths function, but was his ability to think through a problem, add further dimension to the problem and use the knowledge to construct further creations and so on. Here Continue reading Thinking through Redstone IN Minecraft

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Community and Urban Planning – Project Based Learning and Minecraft

The following pictures/slides provide some information about how we are using PROJECT BASED LEARNING, INQUIRY and MINECRAFT in the classroom. Recently, a reporter asked me, “So what have you learned through this project?”   I’ve learned that I need to step back and trust my students. I need to provide time, support and facilitate the groups and activities and allow them to discover for themselves the different possibilities, avenues and perspective of an issue. I learned how important it is to use tools that they themselves are familiar with and to explicitly provide situations where they can be leaders and facilitators themselves. The Barton and Tiffany area in Hamilton remains vacant. These students, while their concept plans may never Continue reading Community and Urban Planning – Project Based Learning and Minecraft

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