For the past year and a half, I have been opening students and teachers up to perler beads. The story began in late 2015, when I was looking into a new hobby as I worked towards finishing up my dissertation proposal. Just after New Year’s 2016, I bought a set of grids and a large mixed bucket of perler beads that was being sold at a swap meet and away I went. A few days later, I was working on a project with two of my friend’s children and they were coming up with crazy designs using graph paper and were bringing them to life with the perler beads. I realized this was a great way to teach students about pixel art and doing 3D printing on a more manageable budget. The idea took off with my students and I started sharing out classroom ideas and STEAM lessons on my social networks and have refined the lessons to a more digital format thanks to both Alice Keeler and Christine Pinto over the last year. In the last few months, I was able to learn how to use Bloxels to create 13-bit video games. As a result, I decided to merge them both into an amazing lesson that promotes group work, digital citizenship and STREAM
- Divide students into groups of 3 or 4 students.
- Provide pixel art templates to each group.
- Groups will design One Adventure world (fire, wind, water, earth)
- Students assigned themselves roles for this project.
- Hero Designer- the main protagonist for the story.
- Enemy designer- villains, obstacles or danger items.
- Layout designer- Build the Adventure World for the protagonist.
- Storyboard designer- will outfit the main story with the Adventure World that will be designed with the story blocks.
Alice Keeler created an amazing Conditional Formating Google Sheets to create Pixel art. I was able to create a Conditional Formatting Google Sheets for Students in the 13 x 13 grid style that Bloxels uses. The main template is protected by the teacher so the main 8 colors used in Bloxels and a copy is sent to each group. A tab is created for each section for Bloxles creation: hero, enemy, layout, storyboard. Students are able to create their designs using Pixel Art with Google Sheets and then can transfer the designs using their Bloxels Boards or the tablet itself. From there:
- Student character designers will build their characters in Google Sheets using the 13 x 13 Conditional Format Grid.
- Students will brainstorm the layout design for their Adventure World.
- Students will consider elements, climates and terrain for their Adventure World.
For the next step students will then create physical Achievement Badges for players based on their designs using Google Sheets Conditional Formatting Template and Perler Beads. You can also use Qixels if you do not want to use an iron to fuse your beads, there are also Beados for more colorful designs. The badges are designed around levels, characters, power-ups and themes. Have students create a list of what needs to be accomplished to earn the badges.
Once the games have been completed, have students upload the final games and then have a classroom Game Jam. Students earn their achievement badges when they have completed the games based on their accomplishments. If you would like the full Lesson Plan template, you can make a copy of it here. Enjoy and happy creating.