STEM Tools

Who doesn't love to play video games in class, let alone BUILD their own video game?! Today's Tech Tuesday tool is Bloxels! Bloxels does just that. Using eight different colored blocks to code the board, students can create their own video game, characters, backgrounds, animations and then play their own game. 

I do eventually tie Bloxels into content, however I let them play first to get familiar with the program. There are two ways students can play with the Bloxels. Each kit comes with a board and the colored cubes. You will also need an electronic device that is compatible with the Bloxels app. As teachers, we like to reach all of our learners. The Bloxels board and cubes allow students to create their board game and characters physically, for those learners who like to have something tangible. You can also build your game board on the electronic device as well. 
I give each student group this page, which can be found on their website to help guide them as they are creating their game.

Letting them play to gain familiarity with the program was a lot of fun. Students were really creative when designing their characters. I had Donald Trump, Spiderman and a Minion. 
Students are able to add the characters they create into their game, so the are able to really create their own game, from the ground up. 

When students enter the app, they will want to click on Build New Game. When they click on that, they will see the screen below. As you can see, the blocks are on the right. Students just have to click on the color they want and then click on the board to place the block where they want it. 

Here is an example of a board that I created. 

Students will be able to "edit" several blocks. Students just have to hit configure down at the bottom and they will be able to edit any of the blocks the have a bouncing arrow, like below. When they click on the white box, they can choose to add text or end flag, to end their game. Clicking on the purple, students will be able to choose their villain and with the pink, they will be able to edit their level-ups. 

Once students have done this, they can insert their character by clicking the character icon on the bottom, in the configure section. This will insert their character into their game that they have created. They can draw their character to anywhere on the screen to have it start anywhere in their game. 

In the video below, I am playing the fame I created. While playing, I realize that there are some edits that I need to make, so I went back and edited my game. Then I tried again. A great conversation to have about how scientists have to go through trials before putting a product out into the world. 

There are SO many great ways to use Bloxels in the classroom. My favorite way to use them is in Science and Social Studies, however I have used them in all subjects. In Science I had students create a water cycle. Their character was a water drop and they use the white text boxes to talk about the water cycle and what the water droplet experienced as it was traveling through the water cycle. 

In Social Studies, I had students research a country and how they celebrate Christmas. They then created a game to share with classmates to teach their classmates about the country they researched. 

Since I am teaching 5th Grade to this year, I am excited to add American History to the collection of Bloxels games. Students can create a video game about Columbus' first experience in the New World, the First Thanksgiving and SO much more. 

In Math, you can give students a certain amount of money and label each block to have a certain price. Students will then have to manage their money wisely, along with adding and subtracting decimals. 

In ELA and Writing, students practice Story Structure by creating their character, setting, problem and solution. Once they have created their game and play it, they can write about what happened with their character and how it solved the problem. 

Bloxels EDU gives you, as an educator, more structure. You are able to track your students progress and give them digital rewards. It does cost money, starting at $125 for 25 students. You can try it for free for 25 students for 30 days by clicking on the link above. 

Bloxels are a relatively cheap Tech Tool, only costing $21 on Amazon Prime. Click here, which will take you directly to the Amazon page in which you can purchase them! There is a Star Wars version, which I have but not played yet! The Star Wars version is a tad bit cheaper too!  (I am no way affiliated with Amazon.)

Next weeks tech tool is the last tool that I am teaching and in fact was my first blog post, the Class VR. Feel free to read about how I used those in the classroom! (we had a lot of fun with them!) 
Let me know what you think! 

Until next time! 

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