Supporting the teaching and learning of STEAM (Science, Technology, Education, Arts & Maths) in schools.

by Kieran Kelly – St Clare’s NS Harolds Cross 

Last year, my sixth class pupils undertook a project to create their own virtual world using MissionV.  MissionV (www.missionv.ie) is a building platform for game-based learning. Pupils use geometric building tools to collaboratively construct 3D models of real world or fantasy structures and program the objects. Pupils programmed objects within MissionV using Scratch (http://scratch.mit.edu/).

Imprudence for Second Life

After downloading and installing Imprudence for Second Life, each child was setup with their own avatar. The pupils were able to personalise the appearance of their avatar, which they loved. After basic training in how to create different 3D objects, the pupils were left to work independently. Instruction was given on internet safety and the use of usernames and passwords.  Checkout webwise.ie for more information on web safety resources.

Once they mastered the skills of MissionV we started our first group project. We used MissionV to report on a science investigation:  “What effect does Coca-Cola have on the following objects: teeth, rusty chain, rusty allen keys, dirty coins and rusty nails?” The pupils created a virtual science laboratory to report their predictions, investigation, results and conclusions. In January 2014, the pupils presented their findings using MissionV at the RDS Primary Science Fair which impressed the judges.  Subsequently, pupils’ blogged about their experience on the school blog: Click here to read more.

Science investigation project

Pupils were then allowed to create their own objects using Scratch. The results were impressive: giant foosball tables, A Hobbit House, The Eye of Sauran (Lord of the Rings), The Batman spotlight that roamed the skies, The Planets of our solar system, The Starship Enterprise and many more imaginative ideas.  Pupils’ creativity and enthusiasm shone through.

Pupils worked on the project at school and at home, communicating and collaborating through their Avatars.  MissionV was self-motivating and the pupils worked on their own initiative.  They helped each other, shared ideas and really enjoyed using MissionV.  MissionV raised the self-esteem of many pupils within the class and is a fantastic teaching and learning resource.

We started using MissionV in November and pupils enjoyed using it up until the last day of school. It was so well loved, many asked to be able to continue using it during the summer.

This year I am hoping to teach pupils how to import different objects into MissionV and use their maths eyes to point out all the mathematical things they can find in the objects. Check out Maths Eyes for more information (http://www.haveyougotmathseyes.com/) .

Maths eyes

MissionV is now open to all primary schools and I would recommend that you contact James Corbett at james@missionv.ie to find out how MissionV can help the teaching and learning of STEAM (Science, Technology, Education, Arts & Maths) in your school. Any technical issues we had were quickly resolved by James Corbett the managing director of Mission V. Check out this great article about the many benefits of Mission V at http://technology.ie/irish-kids-create-virtual-world-explore-using-oculus-rift-video/.

When art meets science