Minecraft Makershop: Year 2, Day 4

The workshop is soon to draw to a close. Just one more session left and then my kiddos will be on their way to the rest of their summer vacation. I don’t know if any are signed up for sessions next week, so it’s very likely I won’t see any of them again. I will miss their shouts of “Steve!” when I pick them up for class each day though.

Today we tackled the start of the final project. It was a challenge for one of my teams last year, and I wish I had all of the photos from that build. Unfortunately, not all  of the images transferred over when I switched from Tumblr to WordPress last year. Students first watched a time lapse video of Arabius City being built to get them focused. From there, we talked project requirements and revealed the team names.

This year I really took a look at the skill levels of each of my students. I did not have the issues with getting along/arguing during the workshop like I did last year so that of course made it easier. I had students fall into one of three categories: beginner, intermediate, or pretty skilled. I had an even number of students so we had teams of 4 and 4 to build.

This year, I had them select their build theme with their teams first. From there, they decided on the buildings they needed in their creation. They were required to have 6 types of buildings and a road system to connect them. Landscaping is a bonus. After meeting the minimum requirements, they are certainly free to build more if they have time. All buildings need to incorporate the skills they’ve learned in the workshop. Once the basic plan was created, they selected a site for their build.

This year, both teams have selected a desert location for their build. For most of them, it’s a definite challenge, and not all of the things they have built fit the desert theme, but I did expect this when I first saw them select the spot. It’s given me the idea to perhaps develop a workshop on designing city/town builds in a theme. The kids seemed interested in this as well.

The buildings have been displaying the things we learned about in class. Some of the builds are a better example than others, but I think the students are feeling part of the time crunch as well to build many things in a short period of time. They are definitely now taking the time to work on the interiors of the builds, which they didn’t do as much of before when they made their first build.

The desert builds are at least challenging them to use materials they don’t normally use. Very few have ever used the sand blocks, along with the various clay blocks. It is definitely a challenge for my student who loves building with nether. I know that his group would have built something using those materials, but I made them tie it to a realistic theme instead. I knew he could build well with the nether materials, so I wanted him challenged to use other materials instead.

Once again, I have noticed that the longer the session runs, the more off track they can get if left unchecked. They love working, and I am starting to think it’s part of the 3 1/4 hour workshop. This happened last year as well with a 4 hour workshop. I’ve learned to accept it, and roll with the punches. They stay on track, but they end up making all kinds of meme and joke remarks in chat:

“Cringe nukes”

“OMG Becky”

“Morderer!” (came about because of a spelling error and now everyone uses it)

There are others, but these are ones used often. For the most part, both groups got a decent amount of building completed, and hopefully will be encouraged to really dive into the work tomorrow. During the last half hour, parents are invited to come see what students have created so any parents visiting our crew will see the students’ individual builds and then their group builds. Students will also receive their certificates showing they completed the session material. I’ve also got some leftover autographed bookmarks from Mark Cheverton from last year, so I’m going to give one to each student with their certificate.

And now, each team’s progress so far:

Group 1

My thoughts: This group chose to build in the desert, but their buildings do not lend themselves to a desert theme. That’s okay though, as we really didn’t go over this in our workshop. They are utilizing the different skills though- different shapes, layering, roofing, etc. They are having a harder time completing their builds in a timely fashion, but I am hoping that the thought of their parents seeing their final build will kick them into high gear and allow them to add more to their tiny city.

Group 2

My thoughts: This group is really trying to tie their build to a desert theme. They have really taken up the skills presented in this workshop, and have come up with some amazing designs. I am especially loving the path they have created through their town. Even though some of the colors may look out of place, there was a firm attempt to use what they had been taught. I am curious to see what they create in the remaining 2 hours and 45 minutes tomorrow.

And finally, our dance party jam today:

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