Minecraft PE Projects

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Book Creator

 

Over the past few months I have been piloting different projects at different age and grade levels using Minecraft PE (MCPE). Since we have a 1 to 1 iPad problem in our little school it was only natural for us to try Minecraft PE over Minecraft PC. MinecraftEdu is an educational version of Minecraft that allows teachers to create more academic lessons through Minecraft. Even though I have an EDU account with only two computers in the classroom using Minecraft PE was more accessible to all students.

Our first projects were based on the stories we were reading in class. For example, one of my classes created their own wacky schools based on the book Side Ways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar. The girls created their own schools in MCPE and gave a short tour of the school.

Following the success of these project I introduced a Minecraft Movie project to one of my 5th grade classes. Because all of my students had access to MCPE at home I setup a Pocket Mine server to allow children to connect to our world from home. We began the project by writing Movie Scripts. We used a new app Celtx Script which was perfect for students to create and collaborate on movie scripts. Once the scripts were completed and the building of the world finished we began to film each scene.

Filming the scenes proved to be more difficult than I had originally thought. For example, in order to record an iPad screen you need a mirroring program. Luckily we found a program called Reflector. Another challenge was acting as the cameraman within the MCPE world. I have no movie making experience so the first few scenes were hard to view for anyone who gets motion sickness. Therefore, we decided to allow the each student to take turns filming the movie from a first person point of view.

Currently we are filming scene 4 of 8 and we hope to finish by the end of this month. Here is a short movie trailer the students made with iMovie on the iPad.

Through Twitter I was lucky enough to connect to a teacher from Ontario Canada who shared my enthusiasm for using MCPE in classroom. Scott McKenzie a 3/4 grade teacher was already creating MCPE projects with his students and was thrilled that we could create a joint project.

MCPE Project

Again I sent up a Pocket Mine sever so that students from Korea and Canada could connect to the same world at any time. I should mention that Pocket Mine is a free program which allows you to run a MCPE server from your home computer.

For our project we decided to create Choose Your Own Adventure Stories. For those who remember these stories as a kid, the stories give you a choice at the end of each page, which allows the reader to dictate what happens to the characters.

Scott’s student went to work on building their backgrounds in MCPE while I had my students write their stories using Book Creator. The app was simple for students to use and also we could easily add hyperlinks to jump around throughout their books. Once my students were nearly finished writing their stories I opened up the server to them. Some of them even logged in at night so they could interact with the Canadian students. Both groups of students were very polite and were excited to be speaking to students from the other side of the world.

Currently we are in the final stages of the project. Both of our classes are adding signs to the world to lead other students through each of their stories.

We the MCPE update right around the corner which will bring huge worlds to PE I’m hoping to use Minecraft PE and MinecraftEdu in future classes!

 

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3 thoughts on “Minecraft PE Projects

  1. Thank you for the tip on Pocket Mine. I am starting a new Minecraft unit with my 5th graders in February where they will be creating cultures (Social Studies) through Minecraft. I am thinking now that they will be given a region of the America’s to emulate without knowing their exact location. For example, there will be an island group with a command economy (Cuba) and a tundra group with a traditional economy (Innuit). I will just give them a few clues about their culture. They will research the area, find seeds, build their own homes, set up defense for their community, and we will have other discussions about what makes a community. I was even thinking that we could have one or two students from each group migrate to another world and take up residence to discuss how it felt to come to a new land – if time permits.

    The motivation for this project of course is Minecraft PE. The students will be documenting this project (photos, videos, reflections, interviews, charts) in order to make a video or PowerPoint about what learning through Minecraft is all about. Then we will open up the classroom to be an interactive museum where the other teachers in school can check out their cultures, learn how to navigate in MCPE, and walk away with some how-to sheets/videos that will help them get started with their students.

    I don’t have tons of experience with Minecraft. This whole idea started last year when one of my students wrote a persuasive essay on why Minecraft would be perfect for visual spatial kids to learn in the classroom. I went a few sessions on it at ISTE in Philly this past year and bought my self the game. Fingers crossed!

  2. A lot has changed since we completed those projects. For example, it’s a little trickier to screen record the iPads. I used to use reflector or X-mirage but since I update my Mac and iPads neither of those programs work. However, if you are running the latest Mac OS you can connect the iPad to your computer and use Quicktime to screencast the iPad. The quality is much better but the files are also much larger. So it will require a little video editing on your part. You project sounds like it will be a huge hit! I would advise setting up some rules about conduct in the Minecraft worlds. I would have the students make up the rules. Also, building takes a lot of time so make sure you have lots of time set aside for the projects. Good luck with your project. I would really like to know how it turns out. Feel free to hit me up with any questions you have along the way!

  3. Yes, I had the same problem with reflector. I upgraded to reflector 2 and everything works now (and I don’t need to use quicktime to record). I do have a limited amount of time with my students. We have 15 hour together but they are always allowed to come in during indoor recess to work or explore. I’m sure they are all going to want to come back in to work on their projects.

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