Friday, January 13, 2017

How to set up an Environmental Engineering challenge in Minecraft

Give your child and environment engineering challenge to fulfill on their favorite video game. This challenge is aligned with NGSS standard K-ESS3-1: Use a model to represent the relationship between needs of different plants and animals and the environment in which they live. This challenge is not affiliated with Minecraft.


You can encourage your child to build her science and engineering skills with this fun environmental challenge for Minecraft.


 After a generous two week vacation, my children were getting a little bored. Then, after going to back to school for exactly one day, my children were treated to a snow day. To their credit they did go outside to play in the snow, but it was too cold to stay out all day. Here's what the snow looked like right outside the back door.

Entertain your kids on a boring day with this fun environmental challenge for Minecraft.
Yes, that's the deepest part. 
I had two bored elementary students on my hands. However when I offered them some Minecraft engineering challenges, they got excited! My daughter (age 7), who currently plans to work in wildlife management some day, was especially excited about this environmental challenge.

How to set up your child's environmental engineering challenge

Step 1 of the environmental challenge


First, tell your child to choose a Minecraft animal that she wants to care for. My child chose to work with sheep, because "You can dye them, and it's simple to tame them. Some animals will throw you off."

Step 2 of the environmental challenge


Research her chosen animal. Type or write a list of all of that animal's needs.  Gampedia has long articles on all kinds of Minecraft information. My children have been very motivated to do the nonfiction reading needed to find out how to progress in Minecraft.

My daughter read carefully, and determined that sheep need the following.

wheat
shade
grass
no water

I think "no water" refers to the need to make sure that they don't drown.

You can encourage your child to build her science and engineering skills with this fun environmental challenge for Minecraft.


Step 3 of the environmental challenge


Design a world for your animal. Your child needs to set up a world that she thinks will be most conducive for taking great care of her animal. My daughter chose to use the plains biome because it would provide plenty of sunlight and grass for her sheep to eat. She did not add lakes or volcanoes out of concern for the sheep's safety.

Step 4 of the environmental challenge


Find or spawn the animal. If your child has chosen the right world, she may be able to just find her desired animal already walking around. If not, she's going to need to spawn some. She probably knows how, but I took some notes for the other moms.

To spawn an animal in Minecraft
Use the "E" to go to your inventory.
Choose Spawn
Choose sheep

Looking at these directions it is easy to see why playing the game of Minecraft naturally builds your child's coding (aka math) skills. The multi-step algorithms are great mental practice.

You can encourage your child to build her science and engineering skills with this fun environmental challenge for Minecraft.


Step 5 of the environmental challenge


Provide for all the remaining needs of your animal. Instruct your child to revisit her list, and make sure that each of the animal's needs are provided for. Some needs will have been accounted for in the making of the world, but others will need to be added.

My daughter built a structure for shade for her sheep and planted more grass.

You can encourage your child to build her science and engineering skills with this fun environmental challenge for Minecraft.
The brown spot is because the sheep ate the grass.

By the end of her Minecraft session, my daughter was very excited about her sheep, which lives next her house. She's gone back several times to look after it and care for it.

You can encourage your child to build her science and engineering skills with this fun environmental challenge for Minecraft.


 I'm excited that my child has begun to develop the skill of thinking about what a creature needs to live well, and how to best provide that. We're both excited about the new way we've found to stave off boredom using a favorite game.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Find awesome activities for kids in the Make Your Mark e-book

Our new book, Make Your Mark, brings you 30+ projects that will help your child develop a love of writing, creative storytelling, self-confidence and compassion.


Our brand new e-book is a fantastic resource with 30+ projects that will help your child develop a love of writing, creative storytelling, self-confidence and compassion.


I really wanted to give my kids one good activity before lunch, but my creative juices were feeling drained. We've been to the doctor for strep throat so many times, that she asked me to pull a well child out of school, to check him too. I'm helping plan school parties, and trying to accomplish Christmas for my family. Yesterday, I'd been pushing all morning to try to recover from the havoc illness and holiday busyness had wrecked on the house, as my sweet toddlers just watched.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Sweet and simple mark making you'll always treasure

Simple fine motor art with flowers.

Your preschooler will love making her mark this whimsical art activity.

How do I make these moments last forever? Two golden heads bend over a project. Four tiny hands trace smooth acorns. Two little noses sniff the sweet roses on a misty moisty morning.