Today in STEM class my 4th and 5th graders used the iPad app “Explain Everything” for the first time to start narrated slideshow videos about the “Treehouse Challenge” project we’ve spent three lessons on last week and this week. It went great!
by Wesley Fryer
This is the third semester I’ve taught students a variation of an area and perimeter Geometry-related challenge lesson in MinecraftEDU. I’m loving this iteration since we’re using “Explain Everything” for our reflection phase. Students are actually “working the math problems” for area and perimeter directly on their iPads, using screenshots of the virtual structures they created the past 3 days in class in Minecraft!
I created a 1 page script for them to use and modify for the four slides I want them to include in the project. Explain Everything is the app I teach and use during day 1 of iPad Media Camp, and today’s experiences with my students affirm why it’s such a fantastic app to use with students. I went so far as to tell my students, “If our principal told me I could only use ONE app all year with our iPads, Explain Everything is the app I would choose!”
You can access all the lesson resources for this “MinecraftEDU Treehouse Challenge” project on my MinecraftEDU STEM curriculum page. I added several new videos to it since Spring Break.
Last week three different fifth graders let me video record them taking me on a virtual tour of their completed Minecraft treehouses. The project required them to include a 25 block area room in the treehouse, as well as a 24 block perimeter corral for animals below it.
Yesterday after school I recorded and posted a video explaining how we’re simply taking pictures of the computer lab computer screens this semester to create our screenshots, and then accessing them via a link on my classroom website to a Flickr album containing all of them. Students in 6 classes created 144 screenshots Monday which we used today. I’ll be repeating this same two day lesson cycle tomorrow and Thursday.
Last week after my fifth class of the day, before lunch (at 1 pm) I recorded a short video demonstrating how I use two free programs on my MacBook Air laptop to “remote control” both our Apple and Windows computers running the MinecraftEDU server program. The video also includes a summary description of this “Minecraft Treehouse Challenge” project as well as a few reasons why we use MinecraftEDU in our STEM classroom.
You can download a modified version of the “Group Building Areas” world as a zip file to load in MinecraftEDU in your own classroom if you’re interested in using this lesson.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to use MinecraftEDU in the elementary classroom, please register to attend the June 2-4, 2015 “STEM Seeds PD Camp” which I’ll be co-facilitating with Amy Loeffelholz in Yukon, Oklahoma! As of tonight we just have 16 spots left! Also consider registering and attending the FREE “PLAYDATE” PD event on Saturday, April 18th, at John Rex Elementary School in downtown OKC.
by Wesley Fryer
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