As many of you know, I have been creating and making Perler Bead badges for my staff and students the last few weeks. On the other side, I have been making various characters and art pieces for my family and friends using perler beads. Its become a fun and exciting hobby for me as of late (doctor’s orders). I’ve turn around and transform the hobby into making it great for schools who do not have the budgets or funds for 3D printers for their district. I have received tweets and emails about how they had their perler beads just sitting around in storage in their schools with barely any use. They have no turned around and started using their perler beads for these creations. Well, I have one that will have you jump up and say: “Wahoo!”
In the last year, many schools who have Nintendo Wii U’s or have access to Mario Maker have been creating many projects and lessons using everyone’s favorite plumber. Its become used as much as Minecraft Edu. One such teacher, Amy Nittinger has her students create side projects using Mario Maker. Here is a great one on a side quest on the 5 Pillars of Islam. About two weeks ago, I was talking to a few friends of mine who are fortunate enough to have Mario Maker at their schools. They were wondering what to do with various, Amiibos they had or had purchased. I came up with a great lesson you can do with students and history.
One of my first Perler Bead Classroom ideas was teaching about evolution, I created the incarnations of Link from the Legend of Zelda holding up the Triforce to show his progression over the years. Something many people don’t know about perler beads is that many creators use them to make refrigerator magnets. Its true, I’ve been on Pinterest many times and people use them to make various characters and levels from the games and have them rearrange them on the fridge to look like game levels. You can do the same with your students.
Have students create Mario Brothers or related characters using Perler Beads. They make only one set, this can me a power-up, villain, character, power items, ect. This should take one whole class period for students to create their perler bead characters from start to finish. Make sure they aren’t any bigger than one perler bead grid. If students pick making power blocks, they can create more than one for the activity. Once the perler beads are finished, tape them, iron them and then let them cool. The next day, glue magnet strips to their backs, or you can use velcro strips for a more cost friendly creation felt board.
- Now, set up the lesson for the students, I’m choosing the Odyssey since it deals with quests, loses and gains with the Odysseus. The teacher sets up the Mario Perler Bead at the beginning with the power block that will turn him into the Amiibo Link. The students then have to create the opening to Odyssey with starting his quest on behalf of the gods of Greece (Use Wise Toad for Zeus, the Princess for Athena and Toad as Poesdian. As Amiibo Link/Mario must make his journey to their castle (Mount Olympus) to get their quest. From there, set up the levels to reflect the Odyssey. An example would be going through a level full of fire pillars, ptooies, Chomp Chomps, ect to reflect the journey into Hades.
- Students craft each level in the usual five minute sets and let Odysseus on his journey through the World of Super Mario Brothers. Then complete and upload it to the web so other classes or schools can learn about the Odyssey through Super Mario Brothers.
This is a great way to use STEAM, STREAM and Gamification with your students, similar to Minecraft Edu but in a more adventure classic set up. Give it a try today with your classroom.