Highlights from the June Monthly Student Challenge: A Case for Biodiversity

Last month for our Global Student Build Challenge, we invited students to explore the delicate balance of ecosystems in Minecraft: Education Edition. Participants were encouraged to build an aquatic or terrestrial ecosystem including plant and animal species, then rebuild the area to illustrate how it would be affected by the extinction of one critical species. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Highlights from the June Global Student Build Challenge

Global Student Build Challenge (June 2019) โ€“ A Case for Biodiversity

Objective

Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on Earth, and includes every living thing โ€“ from humans, plants and animals to microbes and fungi. Scientists estimate there are more than 30 million species on Earth. Biodiversity is critical to the health of ecosystems, and also to many of the systems that help humans lead healthy lives โ€“ from pollinating fruits and vegetables to providing cures to diseases and balancing food chains to keep pests under control. A 2019 report released by the United Nations explains that one million species are at risk of extinction, and as the human population continues to rise and climate change worsens, habitats around the world are shrinking.

Explore the delicate balance of ecosystems with this Minecraft Student Build Challenge! Launch the starter world and teleport to a Minecraft biome. Build an aquatic or terrestrial ecosystem including plant and animal species. Document your ecosystem with the Book & Quill. Then remove one type of plant or animal. Rebuild the area to illustrate how the ecosystem would be affected by the extinction of one critical species. Take a few more photos to document the changes. Share studentsโ€™ work with the Minecraft Education community on Twitter or Facebook using #MinecraftEdu, or post on Flipgrid!

Extensions

  • Choose an animal from your biome and describe its ecological niche.
  • Use the Book & Quill as a science journal to document the energy transfers that occur in your ecosystem.
  • Research your chosen biome. Show on a world map where this biome exists in real life.
  • Use images from your Minecraft world to create a poster promoting conservation.

Additional Resources:

If this Challenge theme resonates with you or the content that you teach, we welcome you to use this Challenge prompt any time of year! Share your classroom creations with us on Pinterest or Twitter via @playcraftlearn and #MinecraftEDU.