This term, inspired by the beautiful book Saving Species by Jess French and James Gilleard, Year 3 students are building a Minecraft world where an endangered or vulnerable animal of their choice can live safely and repopulate. To build this world students will need to research the habitat and diet for their animal. They will also need to know the threats to the animals existence and think creatively to minimise those threats.
My challenge as the educator is to ensure research remains a focus when all the students really want to do is ‘build’. Not wanting to quash their excitement and enthusiasm, I have introduced a personal progress checklist. This will give them control over when they research and when they ‘build’. It also introduces the skill of self regulation. I believe once they jump excitedly into their build they will realise the need for accurate information, and they will give the time to the research that is required to make their world authentic. I am excited to see if they can come to this realisation on their own but will guide them should they need it.
Students are required to record their research, note plans for their build and then keep a log of their journey. We have referred to our students as conservationists …because that is what we want them to become!
I will share sample worlds as they are created.