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It’s all happening at MEL’S Garage
stem summer
Makayla Ruiz is an assistant, helping put together the cutout 3D figures during this summer program which started Monday. VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin - photo by VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin

It’s back.

The “City of the Future Minecraft” returned this week as part of the Manteca Unified STEM Summer Camps.

With it are some of the students from last year’s video design sessions, including Charles Garcia.

“It was fun,” said the incoming sixth grader at Brock Elliott Elementary School, recalling his enjoyment of learning via video gaming.

That’s the learning tool of Minecraft, a sandbox video game that allows players – in this case, incoming MUSD fifth and sixth graders (the STEM Summer Camps are offered only to current students of the district) – to choose what, when and how to approach the available content.

Instructor Richard Johnson, during the regular school year, has used Minecraft as a teaching tool for his Special Day Class students.

The “City of the Future Minecraft” is a four-day session in which enthusiastic youngsters learn about measuring and calculating distance, calculating area, perimeter, and building costs.

This summer program is being held in the be.central building at the District Complex and, according to Johnson, is part of M.E.L.S. (Manufacturing & Engineering to Learn through STEM) Garage.

Each student is equipped with a Dell laptop in helping to build the city, using math to calculate and measure the buildings, technology to build the city, and engineering to do the actual construction.

They’re also quizzed on the large flat-screen TV, responding to questions similar to that of a game show, chiming in on multiple choice answers while using alias names such as “Hufflepuff” or “Curlyd.”

For example, they learned that measuring a fence relies on the “perimeter” rather that area, weight or volume.

Or that a negative impact on a city can be manmade such as litter over that of natural disasters.

MUSD has two other STEM Summer Camps this month, including “Minecraft 3D Models” on June 17-20 for incoming seventh- through- ninth- grade students, and “Build Your Own RC Glider” on June 24-27 for seventh through 12th graders at Manteca High.

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