About the Lessons

Unplugged Activity Birdhouse Activity Student Project
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Concepts High Med Low
Skills Development Low High Med
Creativity Med Low High

Each lesson is divided into three types of activities:

  1. Unplugged activities
  2. Guided Activities or “Birdhouse” activities, and
  3. An Independent project.

These activities complement each other because they reinforce different concepts, skills, and opportunities for creativity.

Unplugged Activities

Unplugged Activities are a great way to introduce new concepts in a fun way that gets students up and away from their computers and interacting with each other in person. It’s important to introduce the concept first so that students have an introduction to the big ideas they will be exploring with Microsoft MakeCode and Minecraft.

Guided “Birdhouse” Activities

Birdhouse Activities are activities that provide step-by-step instructions, and every student makes the same thing. Like the birdhouses you may have made in school wood shop, they introduce new skills and provide an easy way to assess student work because you already know what it’s supposed to look like at the end. Students can work through these Activities at their own pace and implement optional extensions at the end of these Activities if they find they have extra time. Birdhouse activities provide high skills development but low creativity because everyone is making the same thing. It’s important not to stop after these activities. Go beyond the Birdhouse!

Independent Projects

Each lesson culminates in an independent project, an opportunity for each student to “show what you know”. They don’t need to go out learn new skills, necessarily, just demonstrate the skills they learned in the Birdhouse activity, in a new context. Some of the independent projects are paired independent projects, in which students are encouraged to work with a partner on building something together. Creative projects enable students to apply new skills and concept knowledge in a unique context and provide lots of opportunity for creativity. Try to build in opportunities for students to share their projects with each other, or with the class!