Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Minecraft Animal Homes

This year, a group of Canadian Microsoft Expert Educators have been working on using Minecraft for learning.  I was inspired by the other educators ideas for using Minecraft in the classroom, so I decided to give it a try with my grade 1 students.  One of our science outcomes is that students will be able to design a representation of a habitat/home that meets the needs of a Manitoba animal, so our Minecraft design challenge focused on that.  We learned about the characteristics and needs of living things as we worked on this project.  Below I have outlined the steps we took in this project.

Brainstorming: Our whole class worked together to brainstorm a list of Manitoba animals.

Setting criteria: We worked together to set criteria for what our animal home designs should include. 

Research: Once we set criteria for the task, I put students into small group and they selected an animal from our list to research.  Groups of three students researched what that animal would need for food and shelter and completed the provided template.

Designing:  Next, students used what they learned in their research to design a representation of an animal home for their animal.  As students did this, I was able to walk around the room and have discussions with students about why they were making certain design choices and how their habitats would meet animal needs.  From those conversations, I could tell that my students had already learned a lot.

Sharing: We tried to present our Minecraft worlds on our interactive whiteboard, but that presentation style didn't work well, so we came up with a new plan to share our work.  Each group took a few screenshots to highlight how their habitat design met the basic needs of their animal.  They added short captions to each screenshot and then created short videos which were shared with the whole class.

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