For our last two meetings of the Harley School Girl’s STEM Club fall session, I decided to get back to the basics of our club: building. These girls love to build with anything they can get their hands on! It is my hope that with more exposure to building, the girls will develop a passion for STEM. For the past two weeks, the girls were presented with the task of building constructions to mimic what they would see in the popular game- Minecraft! In Minecraft, the kids get to craft a world of their own! There are animals,farms, cities, and everything in between. You are only limited by your own imagination. If you have walked the halls of an elementary school, chances are you have heard about Minecraft. Kids today can’t seem to get enough of it. They love building constructions out of 3D cubes. Boys and girls are wearing shirts, playing with stuffed animals and toys, and playing the video game to their hearts content. For me, I saw this as an opportunity to take the game past the computer! I thought we could build some of these constructions in real life. For the last two sessions of STEM club, the girls were presented with the idea of building Minecraft-like structures. The building materials used would be Legos or Brackitz. We talked about how the basis of Minecraft building is with a 3D cube. The first thing we did was sit down to discuss the geometric shape of the cube. It was easy to see a cube in legos, but Brackitz required a bit of work. They had to construct their cubes first, and then build with it. This took them a couple of attempts and lots of great math thinking! The girls were given a choice of what materials they would like to build with.
Attempting to make a cube with Brackitz
The next step was learning how to build Minecraft structures. The girls explored blueprints and 3D structures. We discussed how to crate a flat 2D shape following the blueprint and also how to construct 3D ones. They had their choice to craft people, animals, or buildings, they could make them 2D or 3D, and also chose their materials to build with. There was a lot to think about.
the making of a pig!
Claire decided to build a lighthouse
The girls decided what was their design-challenge would be and got to work. Emily and Claire chose Brackitz. They loved the challenge of building with these and could not wait to start constructing the 3D cubes. Elizabeth, Isabel, and Ali chose to follow the blueprints and create a 2D structure. They decided to make a creeper and Steve. Excellent choices.
A 2D creeper!
both girls busy at work!
Addy, Elizabeth, and Maddy decided to build a 3D animal. 2 foxes and a chicken would be added to our creations.
Minecraft foxes are off to a great start!
Finally, Dylan and Maya decided to tackle the hardest challenge of them all! Designing a building out of legos. The girls used pictures of structures already created in Minecraft for inspiration. We looked at how many of the buildings had symmetry. They selected an image to use for their inspiration.
This project took two sessions to complete. They were extremely focused on the task at hand.
great team work!
They are half way through and they are making good progress. Clair and Emily decided to use construction paper to make the 3D cubes look more like cubes in Minecraft. They are really starting to come together.
Claire has made a lighthouse! Now to give it some color!
The 2D shapes are coming along. The girls had no trouble following the blueprint!
The finished product
The animals were so cute! We wish we could take them home!
Do these spikes look good on him?
It is really starting to look like a chicken!
a finished chicken
Once the feet were build, the rest of the chicken came together rather quickly.
The buildings were not an easy design task. The girls carefully selected their pieces and worked hard both afternoons.
The girls with the brackets had a lot to think about. Building, cutting, taping, and creating. The girls were surprised how durable their structures were. It was part of the design thinking. If one part was weak, they had to think about how to make it stronger. There was a lot of trial and error, but in the end, they were proud of what they accomplished. The lighthouse and the pig turned out great!
the finished lighthouse
side view of the pig
The finished pig!
The girls were all very proud of their work. We hope to share the finished product and also our process at our lower school assembly. We host it once a week for the school and parents to see what we are doing at our school. Great building girls!