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Learning with Minecraft: Tips For Incorporating STEM Lessons In Everyday Life

I am part of the Microsoft Blogger Program and receive incentives from Microsoft to blog about its products.

Learning with Minecraft Tips For Incorporating STEM Lessons In Everyday Life

As I have mentioned previously, my son has quite the obsession with Minecraft right now. It all started with a few mentions of Minecraft 1-2 years ago from his cousin. He wasn’t too interested back then but learned the basics about what it actually was. We went over to one of his friend’s houses for a birthday party before the start fo summer and the kids ended up playing Minecraft after swimming for a few hours. It was then he started begging for us to download Minecraft for him to play at home.

We don’t have an updated gaming console that he could purchase a Minecraft game for so I decided to download the Minecraft Pocket Edition on our tablet to try it out. I wasn’t quite ready to give him access to our PC just yet and testing the game out on the tablet seemed like the safest idea. No connection to the internet and he got a taste for what Minecraft was all about.

Then we were invited for a pool party at the same friend’s house and again they played Minecraft. He realized that the Minecraft he was playing was severely lacking in the options the PC version provided. So I did a little more research on the game and decided he was ready to move up. And luckily a whole new version of  Minecraft was on its way called Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta.

Learning with Minecraft Tips For Incorporating STEM Lessons - Engineering

So I bit the bullet when it came out on July 29th and downloaded it onto our Surface Pro 3. Since he was used to playing the Pocket Edition on a tablet, having the full game on the Surface Pro 3 made things easy to transition. He knew exactly what he was doing and in tablet mode could easily maneuver throughout the game with ease.

One thing I love about Minecraft is that it’s a gateway into programming and engineering. From choosing what color your character’s hair is, to creating new worlds and lands by building up their villages and empires, kids are getting a hands on learning experience through gaming. And my son is eating it up!

At first I was worried he’d become “addicted” to the game and always want to play it. And in the beginning he did go a little crazy. He’d constantly ask me to log him in to play (safety first, right?). But then we roped him in and let him know that he only had a certain time he could play each day. After that was up, he could earn more time by doing a few math problems. But then after that he was done until the next day. So in addition to STEM learning, he’s also learning to utilize his time playing wisely.

Learning with Minecraft Tips For Incorporating STEM Lessons - Technology

We’ve kept him offline and for the most part he sticks with the creative mode. This means that he’s not interacting with others online yet. And he has all of the building materials he needs. He doesn’t need to search for them. At age 6 I’m not quite ready for him to be playing a game online without me being right next to him. But he’ll be ready to take on bigger responsibilities in the near future. And this is a great way to start teaching him about the online world.

As I learn more and more about Minecraft and how it can be utilized to spark inspiration in children and get them thinking about STEM topics, I consider the other possibilities of using Minecraft as a teaching tool. I even saw a Minecraft Programming class offered this summer that I would have loved to sign my son up for. I’m still considering tracking down the info again and seeing if they’ll offer an after school class or two for his school. What a great way to get kids interested in these subjects, right?

Has your child caught the Minecraft bug? Do you think it’s a positive way to increase opportunity for STEM learning?

Just like the first release of Minecraft, Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta will develop and evolve over time with the help of our feedback. Players who already have the PC edition of Minecraft can download the Windows 10 beta version free. Others can download “Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition” at a discounted price of $10 throughout the beta period. 

Players who download “Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition” during the beta phase will still have the game when it comes out of beta, and receive all future updates to the game at no additional cost. Download Minecraft beta or Minecraft Windows 10 Edition at the Windows 10 Store today.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

I am part of the Microsoft Blogger Program and receive incentives from Microsoft to blog about its products.

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Sometimes you just need a little inspiration to come up with a fabulous gift to give mom. I don’t know what it is about this holiday but it’s always the hardest to shop for!

Luckily over the years I’ve come to realize that moms like simple. And they like when you’re listening to them.

So when choosing what to get mom for Mother’s Day remember to open your ears to small hints you hear mom mentioning and get her something she’s been asking for. Even if she doesn’t directly say it!

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Creating a Workout Routine Post Baby - Microsoft Band

Electronics

Has mom been trying to get back in shape? Or is she still typing on a computer that looks like it came from the 90s? Consider one of Microsoft’s many products like the Microsoft Band (LOVE!) or SurfacePro3 for Mom this Mother’s Day.

With the Microsoft Band she’ll be able to track her steps, keep track of the time, and keep an eye on her heart rate during workouts. If you’re afraid of giving mom something for “weight loss” don’t worry! This is for keeping mom healthy!

With the ability to run desktop software, a USB port, and an integrated Kickstand, Surface 3 is the perfect productivity device for school, home, and on the go. This means mom can stay connected and keep everyone on track from home or on-the-go. And, for a limited time, it includes Office 365 Personal – a $69.99 value – FREE!

How to Be A Princess 5 Tips for Releasing Your Inner Princess - stop to smell the roses

Flowers + Chocolate

My go-to gift for my mom has to be a flower delivery and/or chocolate covered strawberries. There’s just something about getting a treat in the mail that I love so I love sharing that with my mom too (hopefully she’s just as in love).

And I literally just got an email in the mail from my favorite – ProFlowers and Shari’s Berries – that they have a deal right now with flowers, a free vase, and 1/2 a dozen chocolate covered strawberries for as low as $39.97. How perfect is that? Oh, and when you go to RetailMeNot and search for a code, you get an additional 20% off making these $31.98 + shipping (I pay the $4.99 extra to have them delivered the day before Mother’s Day).

And yes, this is a non-sponsored plug 🙂

Packing the Protein for Breakfast plus an Almond Coconut Granola Recipe

Breakfast in Bed

One of the simplest ways to show Mom you care is by putting together a simple and tasty breakfast in bed. This can be as easy as some yogurt, berries, and granola – great for small kids to help with, a breakfast burrito from the taco shop down the street, or something a little more elaborate like my overnight french toast casserole.

And don’t forget the caffeine! Serve breakfast with a nice cup of coffee or tea in mom’s favorite mug. Better yet, buy mom a new mug with your mug on it! Or a cute saying or greeting.

What are you planning to do for Mom on Mother’s Day?

Creating a Workout Routine Post Baby + Tools To Help

I am part of the Microsoft Blogger Program and receive incentives from Microsoft to blog about its products.

Creating a Workout Routine Post Baby

It’s hard to believe that my little angel is 7 weeks old already! Over the past few weeks we’ve been able to find a new rhythm in our home now that we’re a family of 5 and I’ve been using the tools I have on hand to make life easier. One thing I’ve found difficult is finding the time to jump into a new workout routine.

For some reason now that I’ve taken over school pick up and drop off from my husband and mother-in-law (they were saints for taking the kids to and from school over the past 6 weeks) I’ve found that I have even less time during the day to work. And that means less time to workout as well.

So I’ve had to analyze our new routine and make a few changes here and there to ensure that I’m not only getting my work done and meeting deadlines but also taking care of myself as well. Because if I’m not taken care of, how will I take care of the family, right? [Read more…]

Great Gift Ideas for Parents







Great Gift Ideas for Parents

One thing I always seem to have a problem with is making my own holiday wishlist. My kids have theirs done in October and ready to send off to Santa but gift ideas for parents can be a bit harder to figure out. Luckily I have a little help this year. Thanks to Microsoft and their great holiday gift guide for sponsoring this post.

Microsoft Give - the Best Deals only at Microsoft

From big ticket items to great stocking stuffers, Microsoft has everything covered to make the holidays run smoothly. With a quick stop to the Microsoft store at my local mall, I was able to test out and play with almost everything on the gift guide.

Not only did I find great ideas for myself but I also found fabulous ideas for my husband as well.  [Read more…]



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