Sunday, April 14, 2019

Our First Graders Create Video Games With Bloxels About Their Zoo Animals!

I have been working on a very special project with our 1st grade teachers, my library partner, Jessica, and our students.  

It all started with an idea while we were collaborating one day about using Bloxels to create video games with our 1st graders.  The teachers mentioned they were going to the Blank Part Zoo in Des Moines on an upcoming field trip, so we thought, Let's have them write and create a video game with a zoo theme.  

Together we then came up with the task.  For this project, they would be writing and creating a video game from the point of view of two characters (animals or insects) of their choice. Their goal in the video game is to tell why these two characters should be part of the zoo.  They will have 3 chances to share why they would be a great addition to the zoo.

This was going to be so much fun for our first graders...and for us too!

Before we started, we wanted to build some background knowledge and interest over a variety of animals.
First, we took them on five virtual field trips using the MERGE headsets, iTouches and YouTube 360 videos of different animals and zoos around the world.
You will find the virtual reality field trips that we took to different zoo animals here in this Google Slide. We projected this on the board and printed it off for our students to scan with their devices.
Second, we visited the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium virtually.  It was awesome having a tour of the zoo and getting to see so many animals over Skype.  After seeing animals like a sting ray, jellyfish, red panda, monkey, bald eagle and polar bear, our first graders asked lots of terrific questions.  
Next, we got the four classes together into two big groups so we could tell them about the Zoo Bloxels Video Game Project.  They were super excited as we explained the project and showed them what we would be writing and creating over the next month in their classrooms and during their library rotation.  
We talked about what online resources they could use as they researched their animals.  I put PebbleGo, our eBooks in Capstone Interactive, National Geographic Kids, San Diego Zoo Kids and DK Find Out together on the Van Meter First Grade Symbaloo so they could find these resources easily. 

Here is the packet we created for each group to use....
The first thing we had them do in the packet was for each student to research the animal or character they chose. This is where they used the online resources such as PebbleGo. 

After the research on their two characters was complete, they wrote their story in the script that we laid out for them within the packet. It is very important when creating with Bloxels that you talk to them about the Story Cubes in Bloxels, because this is where the information and story line will be added to the video game.
In this video game, they will have three parts or chances to share why their animals should be part of the zoo.  They will include an introduction and ending using the Story Cubes too.

You will find the 1st Grade Zoo Bloxels Video Game packet here.
They were all very excited to get with a partner, pick their animals and set off to...
...research, draw, 
write, and...
 ...plan out their story for their Zoo Bloxels Video Game.
We invited our 2nd grade and 5th grade friends, who have created video games this year in Bloxels, to come to the 1st grade classrooms and show them how to use Bloxels.  They even played a few of the video games they have created, which was super helpful for the 1st graders and their teachers to see.

When the writing and drawing was complete, it was time to create their video games.
They are going to be kicking off the creation of the video games during their week long library rotation throughout this month.  Jessica and I will help all four of the classes start their video games and I will go to their classrooms throughout the month to help them get them completed with their teachers.
 It was really neat watching Kelly Hagen's class start last week.
 They used their packets and what they had learned about their animals to create fantastic characters,
art and backgrounds that would become part of the video games they would make. 
Here is an example of one where they have a chihuahua and koala bear as their two animals.  
We worked on animating their characters as they stood, jumped and walked.  This is one way they can include both characters and give their video game lots of movement and interest through the animation. 
On Thursday and Friday, they started building their video games and bringing together the characters, art and backgrounds.  I took a peak at this one today and just love seeing what they have included so far. 

After all of their video games are complete, we will be adding them to the Bloxels Arcade so they can play each others and share them with others around the world.  We can't wait to see what they create and find out why their animals should be part of their zoo as we play their video games. 

We can't wait to share more with all of you soon! 

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