So. I’ve been a somewhat absent blogger. A number of reasons….mostly, my computer has shat itself and this is Kai’s computer now, so I don’t often get access to a good laptop for long! Also, i’m just not motivated or inspired to write much! Kai is going through something of a home-body phase right now, so we’ve been doing a lot at home. Mostly, we’ve been doing a lot of Minecraft.
Which leads me to this post and it’s point. For those of you, like me, who go through the fun (ahem!) of reporting, you might wonder how you can make Minecraft time look at all schooly….Despite the now numerous articles expounding upon the ‘educational’ uses of Minecraft, you might still wonder how you can incorperate Minecrafting into your yearly portfolio or whatever you have to show to the authorities that be.
For me, I find that Kai’s interests and passions often lend themselves well for me to write them up as Unit Studies, like the Pokemon and LOTR I’ve talked about before….
So. Yes. You guessed it. We have a Minecraft Unit Study….here goes….this is what i’ve covered in my Minecraft Unit Study thus far…
Maths (I put it first, because DECS puts it first! ha!)
Minecraft is pretty much all maths. This you know. But how to make it look schoolier for your moderator!? Well…talk about symmetry in design, symmetrical building, etc…Photo’s of some symmetrical designs would be good (I forget to take them – but you can take screen shots!).
A big one for us has been using tables – in Mo Creatures…
The horse breeding table is seriously complicated, and I can’t figure out. But Kai can!
Tesselations are another cool aspect you could discuss, your kid is highly likely to have designed something with tesselations….but we found this example on you tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZH8ESig_4M
Pretty much any way you could link Lego to maths, you can link Minecraft to maths…and more!
It’s a tricky one to document, but there is so much reading, typing, spelling in Minecrafting it’s crazy! I have been taking screen shots of Skype typed conversations between Kai and his friends, and pictures of signs he’s made in Minecraft….
These are examples specific to things we’ve been excited about in Minecraft and related stuff, but your examples might be different!
Genetics (yes, really!) – Using that extremely complex table (in Maths), and with a lot of help from his friend in Arkansas – Kai went through about 10 generations of selective genetic breeding to create a Fairy Horse in Mo Creatures. The genetics does mostly follow actual selective breeding principles (with the exception of things like Essence of Fire and such!), and like in real life, some crosses cannot produce offspring (like a Zorse – a horse/zebra cross)….
Properties of Ores, metals, etc…This kind of goes without saying, although it might not be that obvious….We also investigated the Minecraft Periodic Table….
And compared it to the actual Periodic Table….
We also visited the Coober Pedy Mining Museum, which had lots of scienc-y stuff about mining, ores, opals, etc….Oh, and we looked up what TNT stands for (Tri-Nitro-Toulene)….and I got engrossed in it’s chemical properties…although Kai not so much – he just wanted to know what it stood for!
Design & Technology
Well, Minecraft is pretty much ALL design and technology – the main premise of design and technology (and what makes it different to The Arts, perhaps) is assembling items, following instructions to create a product. Examples you could use for your portfolio might be structures used for a specific purpose – Kai has made high walled enclosures to keep his dinosaurs from escaping in the Fossils and Archaeology Mod!
He also built this aquarium…
If your kid likes using survival and the crafting table – that is ALL following instructions to create a product! And luckily there are screen shots that show the whole process! This is crafting a saddle….
Society & Environment
For us, this involved visiting real mines and doing some real mining, and learning about mining techniques and the life of miners….Kai went noodling for opals in Coober Pedy…
(and found one…a little one!) – we also saw the more modern way of mining for opals in Coober Pedy, as we passed lots of blowers….
Closer to home, we visited the Barossa Goldfields with the Double Helix Club, and Kai got to pan for gold…
He found something shiny and gold-ish, but we’re not convinced it was gold! But it was a fun day out and we got to eat damper!
If your kid isn’t into visiting actual mines, i’m pretty sure there are other ways you can link Minecraft to Society and Environment (or whatever it’s called in your State or Country!)….part of S & E (for SA) includes relationships and building relationships….if your child Skypes with others, that could be a link….too.
Health & PE
This is a more tricky one, and the beauty of a Unit Study is…well…you really don’t have to cover EVERY single KLA or subject! However, for us we did a couple of hikes associated with old Mines…including the Barossa Goldfields trails….
And the Talisker Silver Lead Mine trail on the Fleurieu Peninsula, which has very cool mine ruins and signs about the mine….
LOTE (Language other than English)
We’ve been told by our Moderator that this KLA isn’t strictly compulsory…but I try and figure something out for most things, even if i’m really grasping at straws! With Minecrafting though, it has been pretty easy to link it with overseas friends…Kai’s been to online Minecraft b’day parties with his friends in New York State, and become pretty adept at telling what the time is in Arkansas through our ‘World Clock’ app (which I guess could also go in Maths, now I think about it!)….We’ve looked up where our friends live, their state flags, etc….
Minecraft Birthday Party….hosted in New York!
So – i’m missing anything for The Arts…I *think* way back, Kai made a creeper drawing, but I can’t find it. But i’m sure within the realms of dance, music, drama, drawings, etc, etc…I’ll come up with something before our next review though!
For our evaluation meeting, I make my Unit Studies look pretty in Power Point and print them out with photo’s and what not…and like I said in the previous post about Unit Studies (linked at the top of this post), and would like to reiterate now – putting these together is MY responsibility, it in no way influences what Kai does….if he didn’t want to go hiking to old Mines, then i’d find another way to link it to that KLA…it’s not unschooling if you are force marching hikes around mines to satisfy a KLA!
He actually just mentioned that you can make Mushroom soup in Minecraft, and that we might make Mushroom Soup for real – so I could link that with Health & PE (kitchen safety/nutrition) and/or Design & Tech (Our Mod tells us that cooking is ‘making a product’ so it can go in D & T!)….the possibilities and connections are endless….!!