Highlights from the 2020 Minecraft Education Challenge

With students around the world taking part in the 2020 Minecraft Education Challenge, we’ve seen amazing solutions for some of the world’s toughest issues. In Norway, 2,000 learners tackled the challenge by addressing the theme “Build a Better World,” with the winning team developing a school that features a whimsical campus powered by sustainable energy. In Germany, the Block Heroes Challenge resulted in health and safety solutions for COVID-19, including automated food sourcing and agriculture, open-air schools, and more.

But those weren’t the only entries. All over the planet, educators challenged their students to dream up ideas that would benefit the world and society, then bring them to life in Minecraft: Education Edition. We’ve pulled out a few of the highlights that captured our attention. Let’s begin our world tour!

We begin at the American International School in Cyprus, where Pantelis Charalambous’ students designed a sustainable school featuring classrooms with energy-saving glass and solar panels, a vegetable garden to help learners eat local, and water-conservation facilities. You can’t forget fun in the school of the future, so they’ve also included a Quidditch pitch!

In India, students addressed healthcare in the age of COVID-19, creating hospitals with features that make them safer, cleaner, and more convenient. Amandeep Singh Roopral’s student Jatin constructed a massive facility that reflects the increasing automation in the healthcare sector. He included AI-based robo-doctors to minimize the spread of disease by reducing human contact. Jatin also ensured that the hospital’s pharmacies would be safely accessible by designing them to be reached from outside the building.

Divansh Kalra also imagined solutions for a busy hospital during a pandemic, starting with queues that help maintain social distancing. He included ample sanitization stations for patients and healthcare professionals as they move through the space. Divansh also included a residential section of a city that demonstrates responsible citizenship in the age of COVID-19. Homes are bright, airy, and equipped with the necessary equipment for long periods of working and learning from home.

An intrepid team from New York City, the Full Metal Beavers, took on a variety of issues and housed their solutions within their real-world neighborhoods. Different students developed various entries, but they were all focussed on building a better community in their urban space. With four submissions in total, they addressed a variety of social causes, including racial equity, sustainability, diversity, and homelessness.

One of their submissions, Project R.U.E. (Recycle, Unity, Equity), consists of a series of centers throughout Jamaica, Queens, designed to meet each of these needs. The Recycling Center is a masterwork of automation and mechanical know-how within Minecraft. Their focus wasn’t just on the environmental impacts of the center, but the economic outcomes as well.

Their Equity Center was designed to serve people of all faiths and backgrounds. This team recognized that communities need places where they can gather to strengthen their relationships, so they housed cultural centers for diverse groups in close proximity, with a central space designed for everyone to access in order to build cross-cultural understanding. The “River of Peace,” a beautiful architectural water-feature, flows throughout the facility as a reminder of the community’s interconnectedness.

Finally, Project H.T.H. (Help the Homeless) is a massive urban complex in Brooklyn for homeless members of the community. The students who built project H.T.H. included elements that provide employment support, access to healthcare, and a sense of belonging. It’s also clear that their facility isn’t intended to segregate homeless community members away from other inhabitants of the city. Instead, a community kitchen and event spaces encourage deeper civic integration.

In Malaysia, Goh Kok Ming’s students addressed sustainable agriculture in connection with creating an ecologically friendly school. Their build integrates waste management into food production and even features a Redstone-operated irrigation system.

Students in Kosovo went to incredible lengths to recreate the city of Prizren in Minecraft: Education Edition. They were careful to include the interfaith elements of their city, along with the areas where people live, work, and have fun. There are powerful opportunities for learning that come along with the recreation of an urban space!

Although students from all over the world took part in the 2020 Minecraft Education Challenge, we received an overwhelming number of submissions from learners in Turkey. One of the most ambitious builds came from Yagmur Yildiz’s students, who designed a city built around merging environmentalism and technology. Their community doesn’t overlook the necessities of social distancing and includes eco-domes draped in vines where people can socialize safely. They also created a hospital with a focus on peaceful aesthetics to make patients feel at home and keep their morale high. This flyover video shows off their massive creation.

https://twitter.com/yagmuryldzzz/status/1270413596888096769

Another team decided to address COVID-19 as well. Their build leads players on a tour through a facility that utilizes interactive elements to teach learners about the pandemic. In one section of their world, players activate pressure plates that lead them through a tunnel into a COVID-19 cell. There, they provide information about the virus and how to stay safe during the pandemic.

Students from the Gazi Ahmet Muhtar Paşa Secondary School embarked on a redesign of Istanbul’s urban space after a powerful earthquake in 2019. They focused on providing renewable energy sources for the city, and their knack for infrastructure is impressive! They even included separated lanes for bikes and cars with sound-absorbing walls to ensure sustainable and comfortable commuter safety.

One team developed an automated lighting system to conserve energy within their urban space. Streetlights react to daylight and nighttime to turn on and off on a situational basis. They paid particular attention to the intervals between the lights, making sure that there would be enough brightness to safeguard the citizens of their virtual city.

Finally, conservation principles aren’t just for the serious business of making society more functional and sustainable. They can also generate fun! One team created a next-generation amusement park built with sustainability in mind. There’s all the fun of an ordinary theme park, and around the perimeter, a rollercoaster ride takes players on a journey through treetops lit by sustainable energy.

We were impressed by all of the submissions for the 2020 Minecraft Education Challenge, and we wish we could include every build we saw throughout the spring and summer! You can find more fantastic student work by searching the hashtag #MinecraftChallenge. If you’d like to run your own Minecraft Challenge, you’ll find a toolkit to help you get it off the ground here.

If you’re new to Minecraft: Education Edition, get started at education.minecraft.net.