Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thoughts on curricular tie-ins from my son's 6th grade teacher

Since I don't have a classroom of my own, although I could make a case that my school is my classroom, I tap into my network of amazing educators in my building, my region and across the world. I asked my youngest son's 6th grade teacher what he thought we might be able to include that would tap into his curriculum. Here is his response:
"...What a great opportunity! John (my son) and I were talking about the connection to electricity and circuits, the use of pistons and simple machinery. I have always been amazed with how my own boys have conceptually grabbed on to the concepts of area and volume without even knowing it. The spatial planning and math involved in the construction is awesome. I also see geology connections and the use of elements to make new substances. Let's talk more over the break."
I often hear folks bemoaning kids' focus on video games and yet I see some of these same folks happily turning their learners over to subscription sites like Study Island, Renaissance Place, and also to a number of free websites which have games that simply replicate electronic worksheets. This is not to say that some of those have a place however I believe that Minecraft offers educators a unique opportunity to put math learning into context. Estimation, area, volume, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, all of these are put into practice when building in Minecraft.

Now, throw Redstone into the mix and now you can start introducing complex concepts like circuits in a way that gets kids thinking about what they could create using circuits. Talk about moving higher on the Bloom's Revised Taxonomy!