Monthly Archives: November 2014

EDTECH 531 End of term lesson

There are two parts to the end of term lesson. Both parts are done in Minecraft.

Part 1: Obstacle course

Long story…I sat in the Minecraftedu class that was held in Canvas. In week 3 I learned that there is practically no way I will be able to use the “edu” version because I am not attached to an institution. But I can still get ideas from teachers who do use the edu perks. Our server is not a Minecraftedu server, but I was still able to put in a lot of nifty things.

When I watched this video, a YouTube video link, , I knew I found part of what I wanted to do with this project. What impressed me the most is he is doing this with second graders. How awesome is that?!? I used some of his ideas and added a few of my own.

This next video is an example of what you’ll be doing in our lesson. I highly recommend you watch the video I made before class because I don’t plan on taking part of our 30 minutes to talk. I want you to have the time to play and explore. Overview of obstacle course.  I do not have all the same nifty features that Minecraft Teachr used but there are reasons. Skip over part 2 if you want to hear about what I tried that did not work, which really was not that much. Continue on to Part 2 if you want to read about the Scavenger Hunt.

Part 2: Scavenger Hunt

Each person will be transported to a biome of his/her choice. Please sign up before class at: so that things are less chaotic in class.

Everybody will be sent to a different location so that you are not all trying to find the same items in the same geographic location.

Part of my obsession with MC is finding objects or just seeing what happens when I use a shovel to knock something down or shears to trim a tree. I am fascinated with the variety of results that come from actions. You may have read my idea about testing hypotheses, and I think this fascination stems from the part where I was (and still am) hypothesizing what will happen if I…

There are two branches you can go with the Scavenger Hunt: organic or (inorganic and tools).


Organic is everything dealing with trees, flowers, mushrooms, plants, or live beings without killing them, like shearing wool from sheep. If you get flowers and can dye the wool, that would count as a separate item than fresh wool from the sheep. What I learned from the MCedu class, or maybe in the training videos, is that we don’t really want to encourage kids to kill animals. Likewise, we don’t use monsters in the beginning. There will not be monsters in our version, so if you are planning on being able to gather monster parts or skeltons, that won’t be an option. There may still be spider webs (organic), but no spiders.

Each different flower is an item. A purple tulip is not the same as a pink tulip. Collect at least 1 of each and put it in your chest. Lilacs and roses are separate items. Daisies and sunflowers are different items. Two sunflowers, however, are still one item. There are, however, two types of mushrooms: the brown ones and the red ones. If this does not make sense and you want more clarification, please let me know.

Inorganic and tools:

Inorganic items are all of the ores. Technically coal is organic, but for this exercise, it will be treated as an ore and will fall in the inorganic category. After all, is coal a renewable resource? Tools are included here because tools are better with inorganic items. It just made sense to have you collect ores, and make as many tools as you can from them. Even though a gold shovel may be not very useful in a game, it will count as one item and a wood shovel will be counted as a separate item. We’re ignoring wood as an organic asset at the moment, and are focusing on the inorganic or functional side of mining. Yes, you may count tools made of wood as one inorganic item. So a wooden axe is one item, a wooden shovel is one item, a wooden pickaxe is another item (so far that is 3 items). After finding cobblestone, an axe made with stone is 1 item, a stone shovel is another item (we’re up to 5 different items). If this does not make sense, just ask.

General guidelines:

  1. You do not have to collect more than one of an item to represent it. You may need to chop down several trees, but in your chest for display, you only have to have one block of the item to represent it.
  2. So we don’t go crazy, you will have 24 hours to complete this task. I am putting a time limit on it because there may be other people who want to do a MC activity and there are a limited number of servers students can use through BSU. I may start checking chests at 6 pm Thursday, Boise time. (5 pm Pacific, 8 pm Eastern)
  3. Put your items in a chest. I will not be able to see your inventory. I put a double chest at each destination. If you need a larger one, you will have to chop down a tree for the wood. If you make it larger, put it with the double chest I made.
  4. Make sure I know which site you transported to. If you did not sign up on the location sheet before class, be sure to put your name on the sheet before I check chests. If there is no name near a location, I will not be checking those chests.
  5. Please indicate if you want to be a part of the scavenger hunt contest or not. If I can create a badge or award and can figure out how to get it registered with our class, then I (or Dr. H) will be issuing badges or awards based on how diverse your organic or inorganic portfolio is.

What’s the point?

Understanding how organic and inorganic items exist can be tricky, especially since we use wood in so many items. Even though I am not including tools in the organic side, technically tools made out of wood would be organic.

Doing this type of expedition could lead to a discussion about renewable and non-renewable resources. What did students find as they mined? If they were to wait a year and let the area repopulate, what would mining in that area be like? Would the iron ore return? Would the trees regrow?

The concept of biomes is still taught in biology classes. Perhaps instead of a contest, students could compare the organic items found in specific biomes. Notch actually did a good job of trying to get biomes to match their description. I did not grab the coordinates for a savannah, but there is also a savannah biome. The tiaga looks like a tiaga, and the forests have a different name than “deciduous” forest. I like how UCMP decided biome classifications, It turns out that MC has those 5 designations, too: aquatic, deserts, forests, grasslands, and tundra. (The frozen lands are like tundra.)

Even though this differentiation (organic vs inorganic) may seem very simple and not worth the time it would take to do the scavenger hunt, there may be other ways to use this activity to teach about organic or inorganic items, or the idea of scarcity. If you have ideas on how you can adapt this lesson to meet a teaching expectation, please share it with me.

Resources I looked at and may have used

Obviously the Minecraft Teachr video, .  Please note, YouTube gave me the wrong URL twice. This should be linked to part 2 of his introductory video. I have no idea why it sent me to other videos done by this person, but that is what was happening when I tried to put links in here.

How to work with water:

How to control minecarts:

I tried using switches to activate the redstone powered rails, but I could not get them to work. I ultimately decided to have the rails permanently turned on and powered to help the cart speed down the track. I wanted to have switches control the starting point because the minecarts would just spontaneously start rolling down the track. It did not matter if I was using a powered rail or a regular one- the carts liked to roll. I found this site:

The restraint idea came from that website and it is the only thing I have found to stop the Minecart from spontaneously rolling down the track. This is why the track needs to be reset if more than one person wants to visit the same place. Then again, you could just run down the track, but where’s the fun with that?

How to teleport

This took a couple days of looking at things- I found ideas from building my own transporter, which I tried to do only to learn that the 9 square crafting table I was using was not designed to make certain objects (maybe because it is version 1.7.10?). I eventually came across these websites:

This one told me how to acquire command blocks:

I had no problems acquiring the command blocks. The first time I tried to program them, they did not work so Dr. H. had to make some changes to the server. Please do not change the commands in the command blocks. I am hoping that feature is turned off when the world is open to students, but in case that gets overlooked, please don’ t mess with the locations.

Fortunately there are many helpful people who have answered questions about teleporting:


If you have any questions about how I figured out how to do something, just ask. I may have lost track of some of my bookmarked sites.

EDTECH 531: SL Building Basics

Video of objects

This video focuses on the objects I created.

Video of objects under dome

At first I made a huge dome and then started filling it with objects. The switching from in and outside the dome was starting to drive me crazy so I deleted the dome and made the rest of the objects I wanted inside the dome.

I enjoyed playing with the skewing of objects, but had more fun decorating them. At first I was using library images, which were amazing. Then I found the “local” option. So I resized some of my images and put them on different objects because I was curious how they would be displayed. I think the cylinder is my favorite.

After I had all the objects I wanted to create, I made another dome and positioned it over the objects, but still had the hollow cylinder (don’t know the real name of it) sticking through the dome. This was fun. I have no idea how people manage large builds or do things like the Smithsonian did.

EDTECH 531: VW Design for learning: tour

This is a quest I really want to do because it should help me not only figure out how to maneuver better in SL, but it should help me see how SL can be used for classroom situations.

I first tried NOAA, but is no longer in service. I then went to the International Space Station. Along the way I stopped off at the Smithsonian’s Dia de los muertos, which was absolutely amazing and beautiful.

I get to answer:

1.what you find engaging, what do you do, see, or experience there?

At first I was bored, but once I remembered I could get places by flying, it became more interesting. I did not figure out how to fly in a rocket, though. I looked for where the rockets or the shuttle may be launching, but all of the objects I found were static.  There was one display you can walk in and it was nifty because you could see inside the cockpit (for lack of a better word) of a shuttle (?).  I liked how they tried to illustrate the distance of planets from the sun. They had the distances marked off which reminded me that Sac State has the same type of thing on campus. They have marked of distances to represent a scale drawing of how far planets are from each other- the same thing was on the ground in the International Space Station area. There are a couple things I found odd, they kept saying they were not funded by NASA, but they seemed happy to use NASA images.  All NASA images are free b/c they are a gov’t agency, but it just seemed odd that they were asking for donations because this was not a NASA project. Another thing I found odd was the sign from the Exploratorium, which is a local science museum for me. I am pretty sure the Exploratorium did not make this website area.

2. what looks visually appealing, why?

Seeing the various rockets is interesting. They are displayed well so you can see the difference in sizes. The cherry blossom trees blooming in front of the school are pretty. The roses look similar to Minecraft roses.

3. what elements of the builds would you like to learn to create yourself?

I need to learn everything about the builds. How to mess with texture. How to add words to signs or the title of the building. I still need to learn how to walk around without getting motion sick. I want to learn how to walk smoothly through scenes. I like the science room, with the Geiger counter and all, but I have no clue what I was supposed to do with it.  Apparently they bought the desk because it thought I wanted to buy it.