Sustainability City: Explore Energy Efficiency in the Urban Space

Today, Microsoft shared early progress and learnings on its 10-year strategy to become carbon negative, water positive, and zero waste, and develop a planetary computing platform. You can learn more about Microsoft’s sustainability commitments and read its first annual environmental sustainability report here.

As edtech providers, we know it’s not just the actions we take today that will change the world, but how we imbue learners with a sense of stewardship for the planet. To help you teach students about sustainability, we’ve assembled six new lessons in a brand-new Minecraft: Education Edition world. These lessons are designed to show sustainable processes at work in our daily lives and illustrate how some of the goals and themes in Microsoft’s Annual Sustainability Report might show up in a Minecraft world. Join us on a journey to Sustainability City!

The Sustainability City lessons explore a wide range of issues, including the components of a sustainable home, managing waste products, clean electricity generation, responsible forestry, and more. We’re hoping that students will gain the skills to look around them and realize that the fight against climate change and habitat loss isn’t impossible—building a sustainable future actually empowers the economy and quality of life. Enter this epic cityscape with your students!

An aerial view of a city featuring a house, a building under construction, and a stand of evergreen trees in Minecraft: Education Edition

Explore the Sustainability City Lessons

Sustainable Food Production
Beginning at the town’s grocery store and ending at a honey stand, students explore sustainable practices for every step of food production. By visiting a farm, a waste facility, and a recycling plant, they’ll learn that the food they purchase is made up of multiple products and services, and each should be sustainable.

Outflow Order
In this lesson, students will learn about the mysterious world of water treatment and what happens to water outflow. They’ll discover how water gets from their drains to the treatment plant, how biosolids contribute to fertilizer, and how treated water returns to their homes.

It’s Good to Be Green
Learners visit the local recycling plant, then explore the landfill and waste-to-energy plant. Through these experiences, they’ll find out what materials are recyclable and what happens to materials that aren’t. Students will also learn about energy generation with recyclable material and sustainable landfills.

A person stands next to a bulldozer in an industrial complex in Minecraft: Education Edition

Dependable Forests
Students step into a sustainable forest, starting at a lumberyard where they’ll see stored lumber intended for buildings, paper, or yard material. Then they hike into the woods to see what a 40-year sustainable forest cycle looks like. The journey continues down a trail where learners encounter a conservationist and a local hiker. Throughout their trek, students will come to understand the social, economic, and environmental impacts of responsible forestry.

Sustainable Home
This lesson visits a home built using sustainable materials and explores the features that contribute to efficiency. Students make connections with other areas of the city where the house’s materials originate. Throughout the experience, they’ll come to understand the complexities of creating a sustainable home and what they can do to contribute to energy efficiency.

Alternative Energy
Students begin their exploration at a hydropower plant, learning how it works from friendly non-player characters. Once they‘ve passed through the plant, they climb a ladder to explore wind power and even have a chance to restart one of the turbines for the plant’s workers! Finally, learners hop into a minecart to travel the power lines and see how the plant powers the entire city.

The body of a large wind turbine in Minecraft: Education Edition

We hope these lessons will inspire your students to seek out sustainable solutions and build eco-friendly habits in their everyday lives. You can find all of these resources for Minecraft: Education Edition in our Science Subject Kit. To make sure as many learners as possible can access this awesome world, Sustainability City is also available for other versions of Minecraft in the Education Collection in the Minecraft Marketplace at no additional cost. Join us in building a better world!

Find more opportunities to teach and learn about sustainability with our Earth Day resources. If you’re new to Minecraft: Education Edition, head to education.minecraft.net/get-started.