Minecraft Makershop: Day 1

Today was a very fast-paced day. It was exciting to finally see my grant idea being put into action. I definitely did not have as many kids as I wanted originally sign up, and of the 12 who did turn in an application and were given all the necessary information for today, only 7 showed up. Some dropped, and one had actually moved. That’s okay because 7 makes it easier to give some more one on one time. There were many good highlights for today, and
a few things I definitely want to change for tomorrow. Most are things I didn’t anticipate, and most likely could have only learned from experience. Let’s dive in!

The kids showed up on time for the most part, and we waited a little bit extra before getting started. I introduced the purpose of the workshop, and then each kid introduced themselves and their favorite thing about Minecraft. All of these kids are from the same middle school, so they all knew each other in a way, even if it was just in passing in the hallway. After explaining the basics of the EDU version and going over the different block
types in 1.7, each kid set to work building a home, the first activity of the day.

There was a definite different in the type of build appearing as the morning went on. Some of the kids were uncertain of what they wanted to do, or they were getting distracted. Others were quickly on to an idea and building away. Some came up with more of a fantasy build, while others chose more realistic builds. Here are the final builds for Activity 1:

Admittedly, Activity 1 took longer than I expected, and I did expect that to happen. The kids finished up after lunch so we could do the next activity. Activity 2 focused on them giving constructive feedback to each other on the build. I had created a form for each to fill out on one other student. The feedback wasn’t that bad, but it was very limited because most of the builders were pretty novice. From what I had gathered, most were more familiar with survival mode and building something to get by in that mode. Since I only had 7 kids show, I decided that I will also complete a feedback form for each build tonight. I think it will really help provide a more advanced perspective, and hopefully give some more ideas to the kids.

After Activity 2, we took a look at a building guide file, along with the Hacks for Minecrafters: Master Builder book. I am pretty sure that some of the kids skimmed these, especially since it was the end of the day almost for our workshop. We are going to go back tomorrow morning and review some of the concepts in these guides, and since I plan to write the feedback forms for each build, I can hopefully point out where in the guide or book to refer to work on the provided feedback.

Our day ended as we were ready to begin Activity 3, which was probably a good thing because I need to revamp the directions. Originally for Activity 3, the kids were to either rebuild or redesign their original build. However, most were trying to just redesign, and I think it’s going to be better if I force the rebuild instead. I really want to see many of them move away from just a plain square base, and a redesign isn’t going to help that for the most part.

Tomorrow I plan to do the following:

-Revisit the idea behind the workshop, and explain to the kids that the goal is to become better, and how we plan to accomplish that. There are a couple who would benefit from this.

-Start the day with the revamp of Activity 3, and a closer look at the book and the guides that are supposed to help the kids improve. The goal will be to add the little details that make the design pop and stand out in the end.

-Go over the student feedback form with each kid
and refer to where they might look to help assist them create a better second

-When I start day and have the kids log in, make sure they are teleported directly to me and that they are frozen in place. This will keep them from trying to build or do something else during our discussions.

-Set a decent time limit on Activity 3 to keep them on the clock, especially since we will still need to do Day 2’s activities as well. Day 2 is less intense on building, since it explores Redstone.

Let’s see how things go! Stay tuned for the next update!

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