The Maker Scouts have entered the independent project phase of this session and with Minecraft practically haven taken over their brains, it was no surprise that they wanted to make something Minecraft related. They came up with the idea of a live action Minecraft game where they would make the rules and make real life versions of their favorite items in Minecraft using real world materials and tools.
Our first meeting was chaos! They were so excited that they couldn’t control their bodies to focus on making decisions. They ate lots of snacks that first meeting to feed their brains’ need for more carbs. We role-played what the game would feel like. They created a list of items that they had to have in the game and talked about how the game would be run. One of the hurdles was using the flexible thinking in taking in other people’s ideas. It took awhile for them to move from making an exact duplicate of the digital game to a live action version that is inspired by the game. Some scouts got stuck on making the rules exactly as it is in the computer version and got frustrated when we discussed how it wouldn’t work in the real world the same way it does in the digital world. It was a perfect example of how when children are invested in a project, how willing they are to practice skills that otherwise would be really difficult for them.
We brainstormed for 20 minutes, during which they were all able to voice their ideas. I wrote them all down on a big piece of paper and then we went through all these ideas and decided which were practical to do right now and which ones had to wait for after Maker Faire. Then they broke up into groups to focus on particular objects – weapons, animals, the mine, ender dragon, and building blocks. They worked in these small groups to design the look and the mechanisms that would enable their ideas and made a materials list.
The following week, I had their materials ready for them and they went off making. The majority of the objects were made with cardboard and woodworking tools, glue gun, box cutter, and lots of velcro. These are fundamental tools of making and they demonstrated that they knew how to use these tools safely.
Scale concepts were introduced to make sure that the animals related to each other in the way they had envisioned it. Servos and remote controls will be used in the ender dragon along with LED’s, circuits, texture materials, and spray paint.
It was most interesting to see some scouts working from memory on replicating an object from the game and how other’s wanted to make something in real life that they then could them make later in the digital game. It goes to show how different all our brains work and how important it is to have these open ended projects. The Maker Faire team has provided us with some great space for the Maker Faire attendees to play this game. Come by to play, say hello, make suggestions etc. We don’t know how much will be finished by then, but we will be there and you will get to meet some of the scouts in person.
Jean Kaneko, founder and chief tinkerer at The Exploratory, is documenting a session of the Maker Scouts’ successes and failures for MAKE and celebrating both as learning opportunities.