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LUMEN City Challenge

8-10 yrs old

11-13 yrs old

Climate & Environment

Science

Technology

Compare different energy sources in terms of cost, power output and pollution.

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avatar Submitted By: Minecraft Education

April 7, 2020

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Skills

  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking

External References

LUMEN City Challenge World

Minecraft world file.

Supporting Files

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Tables 1 & 2


Power source and building type tables.

Learning Objectives

  • HS-PS3 Energy: Energy transfer, relationship between energy and forces
  • HS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics: Interdependent relationships, biodiversity and humans, energy in chemical processes
  • HS-ESS2 Earth’s Systems: Weather and climate
  • HS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity: Natural resources, human impact on natural systems, global climate change

Guiding Ideas

After completing this lesson, the students will be able to:

1. Enumerate different methods to generate electricity

2. Distinguish renewable energy sources from non-renewable sources

3. Compare different energy sources in terms of cost, power output and pollution

4. Explain why energy storage is needed in a grid which relies on renewable energy sources

Context

To provide context for this lesson, the topic of renewable energy has to be introduced. To do this, use the video(s) in the external references, the vocabulary in Table 1 (Found in Supporting Files) and the following questions that can be asked to the students:

  • Where does the electricity we use come from?
    • Mostly from fossil and nuclear power stations
  • What is the problem with these energy sources?
    • They deplete the Earth’s resources and have a negative impact on the environment. Burning fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas that causes global warming and pollutes the air. Nuclear power stations don’t emit carbon dioxide, but they produce harmful radioactive waste.
  • What is renewable energy?
    • Energy that is generated using resources that are abundant and naturally replenished such as solar, wind and hydro.
  • What is the energy transition?
    • The energy transition aims to transform the energy system of today that is based on fossil fuels into a system based on renewable energy sources

Preparation for the game

Now the students are familiar with the topic, they can start playing the game. Let each student enter the world in Minecraft Education Edition (single player), where they become the mayor of a city. Students can decide for themselves if they want to build a city based on renewables, or stick to fossil and nuclear power stations instead.

 

Student Activities

In this world, students start at the town centre, where some books explain the challenge. Students need to build a sustainable city by choosing its energy resources wisely. In the town centre, live statistics are shown about the energy level, pollution, population and overall city rating.

To power the city, students can choose from 6 types of power sources to build (Table 2 in supporting files). Their ratings are given in the in-game books. To increase the population, students can build 8 other building types, which consume energy and have an effect on the pollution of the city (Table 3 in supporting files). Taxes are collected automatically and this money can be used for building.

Performance Expectations

After playing this challenge, students should be able to:

  1. Give different types of energy sources
  2. Compare the different energy sources seen in this game, in terms of cost, power output and pollution (see Table 2)
  3. Explain what renewable energy is and why we should use it (see Guiding ideas)
  4. Explain why energy storage is important in a grid relying on renewable energy like solar and wind (because these energy sources are intermittent)
  5. Understand that buildings consume energy and have an effect on the pollution grade, while parks and forests reduce greenhouse gases with the process of photosynthesis (see Table 3)

Points 1-2 can be tested by asking the students to fill in an empty version of Table 2 at the blackboard. It’s not important to get the exact ratings, but merely a comparison. Indicating which sources are renewable and looking at their pollution ratings will lead to an answer on point 3. Students might need help to answer point 4, because the benefit of battery storage is not noticeable in this game. The students can be asked why batteries are useful, given their net power output is zero. For point 5, students can be asked how parks and forests can reduce greenhouse gases.

 

Skills

  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking

External References

LUMEN City Challenge World

Minecraft world file.

Supporting Files

Icon_Download

Tables 1 & 2


Power source and building type tables.