Monday, 13 May 2013

Mathlandia Quest 3: Surface Area and Volume

Well a lot of time has been going into life outside of MinecraftEdu, and some time into Mathlandia, but I am supposed to have quest 3 set up and ready for Wednesday at the latest, theoretically I should have it set up now ready for the other teacher to have a play with. However I decided to upgrade to the latest MinecraftEdu version to fix some of the issues I have been having with command blocks and NPC commands.

This presented some new issues for me as a world builder. The upgrade to the newer MystCraft was a big shift, I can no longer just make up a random world and expect it to all be good. The maker of the mod has altered the way that worlds generate and now it is much harder (at least until I figure it out properly) to write a book that has a stable world without any negative effects on the players.

So I basically spent the weekend trying to figure out a lot about the new MystCraft and the way to make a world that was suitable for the activity I want to run. So I finally figured one out for myself and am now in the process of building the activity in it. I also have got to say the addition of command blocks has opened up a whole world of possibilities for me as a way for me to move students around and give them the items they need for the quests.

Now for the basics of the activity itself. For surface area I have explained to my students that it is basically 'painting' and how much area I would need to paint is called the surface area, and for volume it is about how much 'fluid' I would need to fill that 3-dimensional space. So the sequence of tasks I would like the students to complete, and I am not entirely sure how many they will get done, is basically;
  1. Painting a house, I am considering separating the cost into rooms, walls, roof, feature walls but again I am worried about the time constraints for the lesson.
  2. Painting some sculptures in the garden, with different paints that have different costs.
  3. Filling the pool in the yard of the house, including perhaps the time taken to fill at a certain flow rate.
  4. Filling some sculptures with water and lava having different costs.
So essentially the students are expected to record costings (and hopefully how they worked it out) for these things in a book in-game to give to the artisan for their reward. So I need to finish building the house, sculptures and finalise the actual sequence of quests and the associated dialogue. The students reading instructions was still an issue in the last quest, so I am going to simplify it even more by making only 1 quest instead of making students return to the quest giver over and over like I did in quest 2.

I am also putting in 9 of the quest giver NPC's so that there is not a backlog of students waiting at the start of the lesson. I am also not sure of the value of 'doubling' up on the surface area and volume activities, that is, should I give the students the choice of whether they work on the house OR the sculptures rather than making them do both. The basic principle behind the activities is the same, with the house probably being a slight bit easier than the sculptures just because of the shapes it is going to be made up of.

I think that is enough babbling for now, thanks for reading and feel free to comment below. There should be more updates later this week as this quest runs on Wednesday and Thursday in classes.

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