Sunday, December 23, 2018

Our 3rd & 5th Graders Created Amazing #GingerbreadSTEM Video Games With Bloxels!

One of my favorite things to see is when our students teach their friends and peers throughout our K-12 building at Van Meter.  Not only do we, as teachers, love this, but our kids do too as they feel empowered and definitely proud and good about themselves in so many ways through this collaboration, teaching and as they foster new and existing friendships. 
Since our 5th graders are now the resident experts in Bloxels after spending the day with them during the Big Board Game Jam, we have been involving them in a few projects this month with the 4th and 3rd grade teachers and students. 

To learn more about the Big Board Game Jam Day at Van Meter, you can watch this video and read the post here
The first collaboration was with 5th grade teacher Megan Algreen and....
...Amy Garrison, one of our 3rd grade teachers. 
As we collaborated on this Bloxels project, we decided to tie it into the...
....#GingerbreadSTEM Global Project that others have participating in around the world.  

We wanted to put a twist on the traditional gingerbread house building aspect so took it digital using....
...Bloxels!  With Bloxels, you can turn any story into a video game so this was going to be the perfect platform for the....
...stories and video games they would create with a small mixed group of 3rd and 5th graders.  
As we meet with them for the first time, we told them about the #GingerbreadSTEM Project and how we would be sharing their stories and games with others...
 ....around the world through the website and on social media using the #GingerbreadSTEM hashtag. 
Along with developing and writing the story behind their game, the groups worked on story elements as they came up with a game title, characters, a hero, enemy/challenge, and objective to go along with the overall story. 
We loved seeing the gingerbread characters being created like Gingerbread Jim and...
We loved seeing Santa, the Grinch and even Ginger Cat pop up throughout their Bloxels games too.
Every one was truly unique and would add such special elements to the video games..
...they would create and later share with their friends to play.
They worked on all of the different elements...
...of their games with their partners for a week in the collaborative space and...
It was so fun to see them work through all of the development,
issues and...
...successes with their 3rd and 5th grade friends. 

Take a look at what their game building week looked like....
After that week, they had a big day of sharing their Gingerbread Bloxels video games.  
All of the groups rotated and played each others games.
It was really fun and exciting to watch this.  They were so proud of what they had created and couldn't wait to see if their friends would be able to get through all of the different levels.
Their video games will soon be available in the new Arcade feature within Bloxels.  We will let you know when these are available for anyone to play.

In the meantime, Amy, the three other 3rd grade teachers and myself are getting ready to kick off a similar project on January 7 with all four of the 3rd grade classrooms.  
Amy's students will now serve as the resident experts and teach their friends about Bloxels as they create video games focused on the story elements of a New Year holiday story.  You can get to this Google Doc here to use with your students.  This could be focused around any theme.

The #GingerbreadSTEM Bloxels project was so much fun!  I can't wait to see what our 3rd and 5th graders do next this year and in their future as video game creators and coders too. 

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