Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Visualizing Off-Planet Habitats

My middle school computer programming students are continuing to work on our “Coding Mars” unit, in which they are using Minecraft MakeCode to simulate the 3D printing of structures and habitats which Icon of Austin, Texas, is under contract with NASA to do first on the moon / the lunar surface and (ultimately) on Mars. So far this semester my students have successfully:

  • Used code to make the Minecraft Education Agent (robot) autonomously mine resources and return to dump / collect them in a sorting warehouse
  • Used code to make the Minecraft Education Agent (robot) autonomously farm for resources inside an enclosed glass dome (“terrarium”)

This week, with a little help from AI tools including ChatGPT and CoPilot, my students have brainstormed the types of habitats and structures we should simulate building on Mars, and have started designing those habitats.

Tomorrow in class, before students begin robotic construction (using the Minecraft Education “agent”) of their assigned habitat / structure, I’m hoping to inspire them with a series of three videos I’ll share during the “Wonder Links” introductory portion of our classtime together. In order, these videos will include:

Together these three videos are eight minutes long. They are AMAZING and well worth your time to watch! I can’t wait to share these with my students tomorrow!

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