Minecraft Community Project (3rd Grade Social Studies)

Special thanks to Jon Barry, Annette Welpman, Katherine Fleetwood, and Rebecca Mitchell!

Korea International School Standards/Benchmarks

Standard 1- Culture: Knowledge Benchmarks
A – “Culture” refers to the behaviours beliefs, values, traditions, institutions, and ways of living together of a group of people;
C – How cultural beliefs, behaviours, and values allow human groups to solve the problems of daily living;
D – How culture may change in response to changing needs and concerns;
2 – Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways various cultural groups meet similar needs and concerns
Standard 3 – People, Places, and Environments: Knowledge Benchmarks
A – The theme of people, places, and environments involves the study of location, place, and the interactions of people with their surroundings;
D – Factors influencing various community, state, and regional patterns of human settlement, such as the availability of land and water, and places for people to live;
G – Benefits and problems resulting from the discovery and use of resources;
Standard 4 – Individual Development and Identity: Knowledge Benchmarks
D – Individuals bring specific abilities, interests, and talents in working with others to make decisions and solve problems;
Standard 5 – Individuals, Groups, and Institutions: Knowledge Benchmarks
B – Concepts such as: community, culture, role, competition, cooperation, rules, and norms;
F – How the rules and norms of groups to which they belong impact their lives;
Standard 6 – Power, Authority and Governance: Knowledge Benchmarks
E – The ways in which governments meet the needs and wants of citizens.
Standard 7 – Production, Distribution and Consumption: Knowledge Benchmarks
C – What people and communities gain and give up when they make a decision;
Standard 9 – Global Connections: Knowledge Benchmarks
D – All cultures have similar needs, but meet those needs in different ways that may influence or be influenced by global connections

3rd Grade Architects Using Room Styler & Google Spreadsheet (Measurements & Data)

Mrs. Mitchell’s (goo.gl/EtZmWM) 3rd graders took on the role of architects and designed their own dream house. They were required to create a floor plan, find the perimeter and area of each room, and find the total cost of their house. Students used Room Styler (roomstyler.com) to create their house and choose the materials they wanted for their rooms (wall trim and floor material). Students also created a Google Spreadsheet to organize their measurement and budget data.

Music by Only1dob (Drowning To Succeed) https://soundcloud.com/only1dob

What We Can Learn From U.S. Ranking in PISA Report

Every three years, OECD presents the PISA report that ranks the skills and knowledge of 15 year old students throughout the world. This organization evaluates students through a triennial international survey.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) looked at the data of the 2012 PISA report and found a few things I thought were interesting:

  • U.S. has one of the highest child poverty rates in most developed countries (23%).
  • Score variation caused by socio-economic status; U.S. 17%, Japan 9%, & Canada 9%.
  • If cost of college is removed, U.S. is slightly above the OECD average in per pupil spending.
  • U.S. near the bottom in disparity in access of educational materials. 
  • U.S. ranked fourth in cutting spending in education.
  • U.S. are 24th in enrolling 3-year olds in pre-school.
  • 46% of teachers quit within 5 years.
  • Among all PISA countries, U.S. primary school teachers spend the most hours teaching per year, but rank near the bottom in salary.
  • Teachers in other countries spend more time preparing for lessons, grading papers, communicating with parents, and collaborating with colleagues.
  • High-performing countries do not recruit top third of college graduates. OECD states that this is “not supported by evidence.”
  • Teachers of high performing countries are well-prepared and supported throughout their careers.
  • Japan and Finland have the strongest teacher unions, but are performing highly. OECD recommends that education systems work with unions instead of blaming them.

Here is the video the AFT created that shares what they found from the report: 

The video suggests that the U.S. education system should focus their intention on:

  • Early childhood education
  • Target resources who need it the most
  • Give teachers more time
  • Proper implementation of robust curriculum
  • Appropriate testing methods
  • Treating teachers, communities, and unions as partners, instead of seeing them as the problem.

Creating Plant Graphic Organizer with Google Docs

Today Mrs. W asked me to help her 3rd grade students create a “Plant Life” graphic organizer.



I first had them create a “4th Grade” folder in their “My Drive.” Inside this folder, they created a “Science” folder that contained their plants graphic organizer.


Google Document Tutorial

Here is what I taught the students during the integration session:

  1. Insert a table of contents (Insert > Table of contents)
  2. Change the text style to “Heading 1” (This allows your headers to automatically appear in your TOCs)
  3. Change the cell background color (highlight the cells > right-click > Table properties…)
  4. Find appropriate images to insert into the table (Tools > Research)
  5. Add more font styles into your list (Fonts > More Fonts)



Stevie Bathiche, the Director of Research in Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group, showed the Verge the projects they are working on to hopefully one day develop a holodeck (simulated reality facility).  

Why would this be considered EdTech? Well, it seems that a holodeck classroom could be in our future (probably in the far future). A holodeck classroom full of students can interact with their simulated surroundings and teacher. Theoretically, students would be able to experience any type learning activity through this simulation.


Holodeck from a episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation

Flat Stereoscopic 3D Display that is steerable (As your head pivots or zooms in and out, the 3D image appropriately alters to make it seem like you are in the room.)

  • Special lens that shoots light out into your specific eye
  • Specific lights will turn on and off depending on where your head
  • Two strips of light that send different images to each of your eyes
Place cameras into the display
  • Display picks up your movement so that you can manipulate objects
  • Tracking is done FROM the display screen: capability to see infrared light and visible light, which will eventually lead to the goal of two people touching each other in a simulated reality
Stevie Bathiche believes that these projects are the components to the eventual “holodeck.”