Stations. The best unkept secret in education.
Snowflakes are hexagonal… perhaps the best kept secret in advertising.
During #DBC50Summer, I followed every author from Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc on Twitter and love being connected to them! One of the funniest authors is easily Denis Sheeran, author of Instant Relevance. His sense of humor pulled me into his book and now I get to enjoy his wit through social media. He created a hashtag to serve as a Public Service Announcement. Snowflakes are hexagons. Really! #Snowflakesarehexagons
The poetry written to the companies along with the photos of his own version of “false advertisement” cracks me up! With those posts, do you know what he did? He made me stop and count the dang sides of every. single. snowflake. in every. single. ad. I see.
Our amazing 8th grade math teachers, Ms. Luce & Mrs. Hawks, and I had already planned to do an extension of a PBL in MinecraftEDU. The students had learned about how linear functions are used to create stained glass windows. They had a guest speaker a few weeks ago who actually showed them how she creates stained glass and students have been creating their own stained glass (by coloring) and figuring out the linear function in slope-intercept form of each line. In MinecraftEDU, students could create a stained glass of their choosing. This could be done by modifying the one they created with linear functions to be “blocky” so it could be built in the game, they could create anything from scratch, or they could look up pixel art and use stained glass blocks or wool to create it.
This gave us two stations in our classes, but we needed a third. I had just discovered that Sprite had six-pointed snowflakes on their product (thanks to Denis’s Twitter PSA) and thought students might have fun discovering which products had “the right snowflakes” on them.
A poem for my friend @MathDenisNJ…
In honor of your hexagonal snowflake plight,
I wanted to let you know,
That @Sprite got it right.#snowflakesarehexagons #MakeItReal pic.twitter.com/Hpnf2KVCou
— Alicia Ray (@iluveducating) November 26, 2018
Our third station was a huge hit!
First, students searched for snowflakes in advertising and shared an image they found on a Padlet. Bonus for me: I get to talk about digital citizenship next week and have students determine if this was best practice for using images! (Hint: No, no it was not.)
After finding an image, they read one of the three articles referenced in Denis’s blog post Snowflakes are Hexagons. They were to secretly tell me how many sides every snowflake has and why it has that many sides based on their research.
Upon giving me the correct answer, the students did exactly as Denis suggests in his blog… they created paper snowflakes. There were a lot of octagons, decagons, quadrilaterals, and circles, until finally someone used their resources and googled “How to make a six-sided snowflake.” HA! My principal suggested taking it up a notch further. These paper snowflakes (with the correct number of sides, of course) will be used as decorations for their Winter Dance in December.
Check out a few of their creations that I tweeted out! There are dozens and dozens of hexagonal snowflakes in our media center now!
Learning can be a little bit messy! (And I don’t mind a bit!) Creating stained glass art in #MinecraftEDU & making snowflakes in 8th grade math because #snowflakesarehexagons #tlap #LeadLAP #PlayLAP #MakeItReal #DBCBookBlogs #HindsightEDU pic.twitter.com/zQISNPeEr1
— Alicia Ray (@iluveducating) November 28, 2018
These two, & the rest of our 8th grade Ss, know that #snowflakesarehexagons. Looking forward to reflecting via blog soon! So much fun trying to figure out how to make hexagonal snowflakes! These Ss worked at home & brought them to me today. @MathDenisNJ #scsed #tlap #MakeItReal pic.twitter.com/5fAFEpVCBO
— Alicia Ray (@iluveducating) November 28, 2018
Then, this morning, this kid blew me away!
That moment when a student takes it to the next level! Check out what I got this morning @MathDenisNJ!!! Blog coming tonight! #tlap #MakeItReal #Snowflakesarehexagons pic.twitter.com/71kVqbFOy8
— Alicia Ray (@iluveducating) November 30, 2018
The MinecraftEDU station turned out pretty fantastic, too! I am currently working to upload the file on my YouTube channel and will embed here when finished, but for now, check out this link to a walkthrough on my Google Drive. (There is no sound.) I was so impressed with what they built in the 25-30 minutes they had available to create. Several came before and after school as well as during their lunch to finish their stained glass pixel art and more have asked to return this week. Students showed one another how to “light up” their windows using glowstone, so when the world turns to night it glows in the most beautiful colors!
I am so proud of the students I serve, and the teachers were blown away by both their stained glass creations and their unique snowflakes. This was one of those times that we got it right. Thank you, Denis for inspiring a way to make learning relevant for our students! This definitely serves as one implementation (I’m sure there will be many more to come) for my #DBC50Summer post on Instant Relevance! I am honored that our 8th grade math teachers trusted me to help create this PBL extension and spur-of-the-moment lesson on snowflakes. I’m looking forward to more lessons like this!