Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New tools for old projects!

Looking for to jazz up that same old project?  Feel like you have been doing the same thing year in and out!  Here are two ways to integrate multiple content areas while building creativity and incorporating technology. For the sake of this post we are going to use the 4th grade Mission project as our lesson that needs a new twist.  Instead of having students create a model of their Mission using tools like cardboard, pretzels and twigs let them create a 3D model using an app.  Sketchup is a free 3D modeling app by Google.  It is intuitive, easy to learn and fun!  Google offers great training videos that students can access on their own while creating their design. Another great modelling app is MineCraftEdu.  You have probably heard of it, as MineCraft it is very popular with students. What you might not have known is that there is a version of the app for educational usage. The education version has a custom mode, which is a customized modification of the game, that allows teachers to make the game more effective and focused. There are also many how to videos available on YouTube for this game but chances are your students already know how to use this one.  There are also great resources for teachers starting with MineCraft Teacher blog that offers a list of other resources or the MineCraftEdu site. Check out these final products!

Sketchup example:


MineCraftEdu Example:

Of course these apps can be adapted for many other uses, I am sure you can think of one right now! The added benefit is that when using either of these tools kids are using math skills like proportion and scale.  They also will need to understand and properly use the X, Y and Z axis.  They will be introduced to building and architecture materials and terms, all while playing a game for homework.


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