Friday, March 22, 2013

We're making minecraft sculptures

      Ok, we aren't COMPLETELY making minecraft sculptures ..... but the thought is there..... and M. has started one.....
(This is B. He built a creature he called a pegacorn or unises)

     A couple weeks ago, waiting for the last bus to come, I was surfing through and came across a website called  As I browsed this site I saw that they were building a menger sponge out of business cards. I was intrigued, and apparently so was a student standing over my shoulder - it looked creative and was definitely about design and engineering.  Interestingly enough the student and I had the exact same thought - Minecraft!  He got very excited and then we had to think about HOW to do this.
     We searched for how to make these menger sponges out of business cards and found this site   - The Institute of Figuring.  We grabbed a few index cards and tried it out to see how it worked.  Once the student left I knew he (and those around him) were going to be hooked. I couldn't wait for school the next day, so my daughter and I tried them at home and figured out how to connect them, and then I was pumped to bring my model into class.  The students were so excited to see 4 packs of index cards the next day, and their morning work was spent showing each other how to do the basic cube and connect two of them.  The kids immediately, and without any prompting, began working together to create new statues.  One of our students (M.) also figured out how to make cubes with the flaps on the inside and connect them which she thought made it look neater. "M" is pictured below working on her minecraft type person.
     Thankfully none of them are worried about keeping their structures so after buying several packs of the colorful index cards and combining them with the plain white ones from the previous day I was good, and their craving was satisfied.   We keep a basket of already folded cards (from the initial day) and they have  lovingly used them repeatedly.  I keep the camera handy and take a lot of pictures of kids next to their statues.  We've also shared our skills with a third grade STEMS class and they enjoyed it as well.
     The site mentioned using business cards, (the second site had something like 66,000 of them).  I put it out to my facebook friends that I would gladly accept their old ones, and I actually had a friend step up with another idea.  Someone had donated a big (and by big I mean OVERSTUFFED AND GIGANTIC) bag of greeting cards that were the same index type weight.  I spent last week cutting them into 2 inch strips, and then rotated them for a 3.5 inch cut to make cards.  We hope to be able to share this idea at our local maker faire, but are waiting to hear if we are accepted to present. Meanwhile the kids are looking at the shoebox of cut cards and wishing out loud that they could use them.

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