Minecraft Makershop: Day 2

Another day has come and gone, and it was definitely a busy one. There were many more learning experiences, and definitely things I would tweak if I did the workshop again in the future. I will say that the items I mentioned yesterday were taken care of today, and they did make a big difference!

We began today by researching houses in Minecraft so that the kids could see a variety of ways that others have used the tools to create. The kids also reviewed the building PDF from yesterday. While they were doing that, I was meeting with each one to discuss the feedback form I’d written up on their builds from yesterday. For a few, I do believe this was pretty eye opening. The kids were told that once I had gone over their feedback form with them that they could do a rebuild to improve over yesterday’s design. I made sure to start with the kids who had been researching the longest, and moved forward from there.

After I had been through every form with each kid, I began to visit the building sites around the world to see what was being created. I was very surprised at the immediate improvement over what had transpired yesterday. Okay! We were getting it down a bit better. The kids worked hard all morning, and most even chose to take a short lunch break so they could continue building. Everyone was able to finish their rebuild, and I made sure to put together some before and after images to compare the differences.

Student one chose to rebuild a similar style of build on Day 2. She has attempted to vary the types of wood used, as well as the style of roofing. She’s added minor details, such as a chimney with smoke. Inside of her build, she has also attempted to vary how each room is decorated. There is definitely room to grow when it comes to building upper decks.

Student 2 chose to redesign her build completely. Instead of build that more resembles an office building, she has chosen to create a modern style of housing. This student knows her basic furniture designs and found that they worked better in this build. She’s also tried to landscape the backyard with a pool and glowstone.

Student 3 is not used to using the PC version of Minecraft, and the version she does play on her iPod is a knock-off version because she isn’t allowed to get paid apps. For her particular needs, we took a close look at basic housing designs and shapes, and then she went from there. She has attempted to use a non-square design, as well as design her own roof. Unfortunately, she was not fond of the windows that were originally in the front so it doesn’t look as visually appealing to the average viewer. However, the strides she has made from the simple square design above are big.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Student 4′s build is that this top layer is meant to only be for show. He has placed most of his home underground. You’ll noticed that he is attempting to use different shapes for his build, and he has worked to add some detail. He still needs work on this area, as his underground build walls are all stone bricks.

It’s hard to tell, but Student 5′s Day 2 build is a definite improvement over Day 1. He worked to move away from the basic square design with the Day 2 build, and he also tried some new things with his landscaping. This student is one is can quickly develop a base build and then will spend the rest of the time adding the details.

Student 6 was another one who got away from the square design in Day 2. He liked the idea of trying to do some landscaping, and included this in his second build. He chose a different style of glass this time, and has more of a laboratory setup inside of his build, using the villagers as his workers.

Student 7 prefers to go for more of a fantasy-style of build. He started off well with a set of stairs and a raised platform, and then created another secret lair type of build. While this wasn’t the original point to the project, this student has worked to incorporate different materials into the makeup of the build, versus the mostly oak materials that he used in Day 1′s build.

One thing I did learn today was that the kids are very weak when it comes to Redstone. We did have to go over this very quickly today, and quite frankly it was not the original lesson, which I should have stuck to, but was short on time. Based on what I saw though, we are definitely going to redo that lesson tomorrow morning. The kids are not as up to par on it as they think they are, and one of the kids has no clue about it, so I gave her some help with her work.

By the time 12 rolled around, the kids were beginning to get a bit tired. They were still building, for the most part, but I could see more of the silliness starting to come out and some were getting frustrated more easily. This is definitely something to keep in mind as well. It may be better to do a 3 hour workshop, rather than a 4 hour one, especially since they like to take short lunch breaks.

Tomorrow we continue with the final individual build culmination, which is going well for some, and not so well for others. Some of the kids were quickly forgetting the new things they had just shown in their previous build. I’m going to have them take a look at some examples online and go from there. The students will also be placed into groups tomorrow for their final build project. I’m still not sure if I want to do one group of 3 and another group of 4, or 2 groups of 2, with 1 group of 3. I know which kids I’d like to pair up to work together, and which kids may be better off in different groups. Most likely they will begin their group build around 10:30 in the morning after taking time to continue the work from today.

Reflecting so far on this particular workshop model as a whole… it’s a great idea, but it’s very hard for these middle school kids to pick up everything in the limited amount of time that we have. I don’t expect them to either, but I will push them to try to do their best. I think that if this workshop was made into a yearlong club model instead, that I could definitely get more results by having them build small detailed projects with larger culminations throughout. I am definitely keeping this in mind for the future because I feel that it’s an important piece to remember.

With that said, bring on Day 3!

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