Having Fun Along the Way

 Willis ISD Bloxels

Army veteran Ross Gragert takes an innovative approach to lesson delivery at Willis High School. “My purpose is to help students with their goal of graduating on time and to have a little fun along the way,” said Gragert. While innovation is not new to Gragert’s classroom, a recent project was just what was needed to garner and keep students’ attention.

Each year after reading several literature classics, such as Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the Taming of the Shrew, students normally write a script for an additional scene or chapter in the play or story. However, Gragert decided to integrate a new technology into the project to keep students engaged – Bloxels. 

Bloxels is an online, hands-on technology program that allows students to build a video game from scratch. The program incorporates the use of blocks that the designer places on a gameboard. Students then take a picture of the board to build the background scene for their game. This allows students to channel their creative potential as they gain greater understanding of design logic and computer science.  

Students picked a partner, chose a story, developed their own ideas, and then coded and created the game for their classmates to play. “They incorporated details from the story into their video game worlds that even I hadn’t thought of,” said Gragert. “We have students that are more adept in the gaming world explain how to do certain things with the programming. It was a great experience and the kids really enjoyed it.” #IAmTXEd #WeAreWillis