Join the 2020 Minecraft Education Challenge to engage students in creative problem solving

Last week, we released a special remote learning toolkit to help educators use Minecraft: Education Edition to keep students engaged during school closures, with more than 100 lessons and project ideas that make use of multiplayer mode and formative assessment tools.

This week, we are excited to launch the 2020 Minecraft Education Challenge! This virtual build challenge invites students around the world to learn about issues related to sustainability and inclusion, then design solutions with Minecraft: Education Edition.

School communities around the world have run innovative Minecraft build challenges with themes ranging from sustainability, renewable energy and urban planning to historical preservation and post-disaster reconstruction. This year’s global challenge gives you the chance to choose a prompt and invite your students to build a better world in Minecraft: Education Edition!

A scientist stands in front of an arctic landscape in Minecraft: Education Edition

Challenges offer a great way to engage students in creative problem solving and project-based learning. Multiplayer mode in Minecraft: Education Edition encourages collaboration and communication, and can create a sense of humor and fun, especially when distance learning can cause students to feel isolated or disengaged. Learn more about how Minecraft builds social-emotional skills and inspires student-led learning.

The 2020 Minecraft Education Challenge provides a long-term project for your students to work on over several weeks, which may be a useful alternative to daily classes or lessons if school is closed. Challenge projects can be student-led and asynchronous or integrated into an existing course curriculum (such as a module on renewable energy in science class). Here are the first steps to prepare to launch the challenge in your school.

JOIN THE 2020 MINECRAFT EDUCATION CHALLENGE TO BUILD A BETTER WORLD! 

Download the customizable challenge toolkit, a how-to guide to help you run the 2020 Minecraft Education Challenge for your class, school or district. We have also provided links to Challenge artwork and logos, sample email to announce the Challenge to your school community, sample rubric and a customizable certificate.

Set up Minecraft: Education Edition

If you are already licensed to use Minecraft: Education Edition through your O365 EDU account, download directly at aka.ms/download or reach out to your IT department for assistance.

To help teachers and students stay connected during school closures, Minecraft: Education Edition is available through June 2020 for anyone with a valid O365 EDU account. Here’s how to get set up:

  1. First, check here to see if your school account is eligible.
  2. If you have a valid O365 EDU account, fill out this form to request access to Minecraft: Education Edition through June 2020. If you do not have a valid O365 EDU account, you can still download and try a free demo lesson on Windows, Mac or iPad.
  3. Download Minecraft: Education Edition for Windows, Mac or iPad.

Choose a challenge prompt

Choose a topic related to sustainability or inclusion for your school’s Minecraft Education Challenge. You can also create your own prompt that invites students to address a local issue impacting your school, community or region. Here are two sample prompts from the toolkit:

  • ACCESSIBLE CLASSROOM CHALLENGE: Design a more accessible version of your classroom in Minecraft. Think about people with different learning styles and disabilities, so the space is a safe and inspiring environment for everyone to be healthy.
  • SUSTAINABLE SCHOOL CHALLENGE: Build a more sustainable version of your school in Minecraft. Consider a holistic definition of sustainability, which may involve rethinking energy systems, recycling, transportation, and how nature plays a role.

Students can work individually or in small groups. We recommend having an educator or administrator team or individual act as the point of contact for the Challenge at your school to manage communication with the school community and facilitate the evaluation process.

Suggested timeline: April to June

We encourage you to start your school’s Minecraft Education Challenge in April and provide a submission deadline in June. You can run the Challenge for between two and eight weeks. We will be featuring select student projects on the Minecraft Education website, social media, and at Minecraft Live, the annual live broadcast celebrating all things Minecraft in September.

A character stands in front of a fence containing bison in Minecraft: Education Edition

Download free templates and artwork

Need support? Care to share?

If you have questions about the Minecraft Education Challenge, please post in our Help Center here.

Share progress and stories of your Challenge experience via Twitter and Facebook, and tag us at using our Twitter handle @PlayCraftLearn and the hashtag #MinecraftChallenge, and post on this Flipgrid page, especially as many students will be working on their project submissions remotely!

Our team is excited to see the results of the 2020 Minecraft Education Challenge and hope it inspires students to think about creative solutions to help build a better world, especially during an unprecedented time of school closures and distance learning.