Monday, February 27, 2017

Minecraft Construction: Cultural Influences

Our third lesson focuses on the idea of culture and specifically aims to answer two questions:

  1. How are civilizations remembered?  
  2. How does culture impact and define a civilization?

This lesson accompanies a writing unit called Folk Literature.  During the writing unit, students examine folk literature pieces from all over the world and identify key elements within the stories.  For their performance task, students are asked to create a folk literature story about their civilization.  Students published this on Scholastic's Write With Writers website.
This assignment was very interactive and group-dependent because all group members must discuss the various stories that they are creating so that they all mesh together to create a picture of their civilization and their culture.

After completing the writing, students, within their groups, choose one student-written folk literature story to focus the remainder of their construction in Minecraft for this lesson.

During this lesson, students add cultural elements to their previously created city centers.  Many of these cultural elements correlate with the folk literature pieces.  Students are asked to create a cultural center that will host events for their civilization.  In preparation for building, students research ancient architectural design elements and incorporate at least one element into their structure.

Students create a sketch of their cultural center using OneNote and their Surface 3, and share it with their group members.

Their second task is to clear the area for their cultural center.  At this point, groups should identify the purpose of the cultural center (i.e. what events will be held) and should have a central focus for the space.  They are reminded to expand their wall to accommodate their new structure.

Third, students are asked to create a unique cultural feature for their city center.  This could be a statue, a piece of art, or a fountain that represents an element of their culture.

Many students erected statues in honor of their folk literature hero and had their cultural center depict an event that they described in their narratives.

Students had to present their unique feature, cultural center, and depicted a holiday that is celebrated by their people.  The holiday presentation included decor, practices, and descriptions.  We had students dance, carry "torches", and sing songs in honor of their folk literature heroes.