Sunday 24 September 2017

Project 3: Medieval Castles

This week we learned all about medieval castles. As well as getting a lot of books on castles from the library, we visited Lincoln Castle and built a castle in Minecraft.
Lincoln Castle Gate

Lincoln Castle was a great place to visit, although it rained a lot in the afternoon. The children enjoyed the walk around the castle walls, and exploring the Victorian Prison. Lincoln Castle holds one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta, although this was quite an underwhelming display. Undoubtedly the low point of day was the cafe, which had a rather paltry (and over-priced) selection.
Lincoln Castle Wall

Lincoln Castle Prison
We used Minecraft: Exploded Builds: Medieval Fortress to build our castle. It provides lots of detail, and lots of potential for customisation, but an extensive castle will take a long time to build even when building in two-player mode. So far we have a turret and a couple of walls, but we plan to continue adding to the castle over the next few weeks.

Minecraft Castle
Next week: Flags!

Sunday 17 September 2017

Project 2: All about Maps

We started the week by exploring some of the hundreds of maps in our house. There were framed maps on walls, maps in storybooks, atlases, street maps, online maps, and board games based on maps. Solomon's favourite map was a framed picture one of Bloomsbury.
Board games based on maps

We went to the library to look at some old maps in the local history and archives section, and bought two Ordnance Survey maps of the Peterborough area.

We made a compass with a needle and magnet, and used the c:geo mobile app to go geocaching. We found a cache under a rock and swapped some crayons for a dinosaur pencil top.
Geocaching find

Finally Solomon created his own map, with elements of both fantasy and reality.
Solomon's map

Next week's project: Medieval Castles.

Sunday 10 September 2017

Project 1: History of Computer Games

Solomon picked 'History of Computer Games' for his first project (from a selection of options that we've created as a family). The project was designed to demonstrate technological progress.

We played a selection of games on the Atari Flashback 6, dug out Mum's old Sega Megadrive, and of course played Minecraft on the Nintendo Switch.

Asteroids on the Atari Flashback
We visited the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham, and played on lots of different computers and arcade machines from the last 40 years.

The National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham
Solomon playing Superfrog on the Amiga

Finally, we finished the week by programming our own game on Scratch Jr on a tablet, from the (highly recommended) Official ScratchJr Book. ScratchJr is a drag-n-drop blocks programming language for 5-7 yr olds, and in the 'Cats Versus Birds' game the idea is to safely get the bird to the mushroom without hitting any of the cats that are moving up and down the screen.
'Cats Versus Birds' on ScratchJr
Next week's project: All about Maps.