Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Water Craft Our new inquiry Part 1

I am writing this blog post as a documentation of a cool new inquiry project that my teaching partner Keri Ewart and myself (though more my teaching partner), called Water Craft.  The purpose of this inquiry is to design  new version  of Minecraft called Water Craft.  The students must include three of the big curriculum expectations:

  1. Assess ways in which the actions of humans have an impact on the quality of air and water, and ways in which the quality of air and water has an impact on living things
  2. investigate the characteristics of air and water and the visible/invisible effects of and changes to air and water in the environment
  3. demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which air and water are used by living things to help them meet their basic needs

Now this project has been a spur of the moment (which to me are the best kind) so we will see how it goes.  The hope is that the grade twos will be designing their own game system that answers these three questions.  So far we have started by introducing our language centers which will give the students opportunities to explore the game, the writing portion and science.  

We have also had the students play inside of the game and discover different components of MineCraft.  The next stage is to start asking guided questions that students will have to answer in order to complete the big ideas and the actual making of a video game.

So what does this project look like:

1) This project is first linked to our science curriculum.  The learning goals of the game is to teach these three big ideas above

2) It is also linked to reading, writing and our language centers.  Students will be researching within their centers about water usage, conservation and characteristics.  Each center is based on building toward the future; designing a game.

3) Lots of exploration.

What was needed to get this type of project started:

1) Lots of planning and forward thinking.  Even though we decided on it at the last minute, my teaching partner and I have had to rethink through our curriculum needs and figure out how to interconnect all of tech into the curriculum.

2) We also had to give our students a lot of exploring time. I have found that whenever you introduce something new for the first time, students just really want to explore, so we did just that.  The first day was all about exploration.  The students played with mindcraft, they read and played the center apps and discussed as they went.  We were also very lucky to have some grad students in from York to help use problem solve and work through playing the game.

3) we gave time to ask questions and answer some of them.  After the student explored on the game, we had them come up with a list of questions that they would have to explore.  The hope was that this would spur more inquiry and make the children think about what they are working towards.




 Each week I hope to document the learning that is happening and reflect on the process.  In the mean time if anyone has any other suggestions we welcome any advice or help.  Stay tuned for more.