Minecraft Education Challenge

2023 NYC DOE Minecraft Battle of the Boroughs

Minecraft Education Battle of the Boroughs Main Logo Photo

The 2023 NYC Minecraft Education challenge is here! This challenge provides an opportunity for NYCDOE students to design safe, connected, equitable, resilient, and sustainable communities that move NYC forward without leaving anyone behind. We’re partnering with Minecraft Education and C40’s Reinventing Cities initiative to guide students in creating our future New York. Building on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the City’s OneNYC 2050 strategic plan, and existing mayoral initiatives students will compete to create the most inclusive future-ready city spaces. Students and teachers across the city can find support linked here.

Part One: All participating K-12 student teams should have their brief submission video that answers the challenge question submitted in Flip by Friday, April 7, 2023. Top selections across all grades will receive recognition and be promoted on the DOE page along with possible inclusion in live events. Part Two: Student teams in each borough in grades 6 to 12 will compete in new live in-person build challenges judged by challenge experts. Part Three: The top team from each borough will be invited to a culminating 5-way final. Top submitting students across all grade levels will be invited to the event where we will celebrate the achievements of our students as designers, programmers, and thought leaders. The winning competition team will be crowned NYC DOE Minecraft Challenge Champions.

About the Challenge

We want you to build a space that answers the question:

How can we create a safe, connected, resilient, and sustainable borough that moves NYC forward without leaving anyone behind?

You can address one or all of the challenge’s four focus areas.

  • Safe: Improving public safety can take many forms. This can include enhancing traditional fire service, law enforcement, corrections, or medical services. It could also come from spaces for community-based organizations, mental health services, public utilities, libraries, education organizations, addiction management resources, or healthy spaces for the unhoused. It could even involve efforts to strengthen our democracy.
  • Connected: Creating spaces where a diverse array of New Yorkers can connect requires a variety of transportation options, but it also has to do with creating open spaces that are beautiful, fun, and draw people in. It can involve communication and internet upgrades too.
  • Resilient: The city has endured hardships from natural disasters and human attacks. We must ensure the city and its communities continue to bounce back even as the effects of climate change and societal challenges intensify.
  • Sustainable: We need to have a plan for our public spaces to be clean and environmentally friendly. We need to consider the lasting needs of the community which includes families, businesses, and area wildlife. 

Throughout every build make sure you’re considering all the people in the community. What is the history of the location? How can we acknowledge it? Will the space work for people of different ages and from different backgrounds? Will it be accessible to New Yorkers with disabilities? Do we need fun spaces to gather? Do we need quiet spaces to find peace?

In This Challenge, You Will:

  • Visit and explore the five boroughs of NYC
  • Learn more about the City of New York’s improvement plans
  • Speak with and learn from a variety of experts from the City of New York
  • Design and build a solution to build a better NYC
  • Use coding in your build to make it even better
  • Submit a two-minute video overview of your build

For more details, explore the student guides (grades K-5 or 6-12).

Important Things to Know

  • All students in grades K-12 can participate.
  • Students can work individually or in groups for this project. We encourage class groups to work with their teacher, but individual students can submit even from home.
  • Students can and are encouraged to use coding to develop their world if possible.
  • Student teams will submit their Minecraft solution to the challenge by creating a 2-minute video of their Minecraft world that explains their solution to the challenge.
  • Students with multiple submissions will only have their final submission considered.
  • Student submissions will be judged by a panel of experts from the NYCDOE and Microsoft using this rubric (available in 9 languages) to assess students’ Minecraft solutions. Judges will add an additional rating to the builds with the highest scores from each grade to showcase the Best Pitch, Most Innovative, and Most Impactful. The best submissions from each grade will be showcased.
  • The top submissions from 6th to 12th-grade students will be eligible for borough esports build competitions judged by similar experts. Video submissions from a group of more than five students will be asked to decide which students progress. Individual students who submit will need to be part of a team to continue to round 2.
  • Following the borough competitions, one team from each borough from each will compete in a live final event. In addition, top submitters from K-12 will be invited and receive awards and recognition as well.

How to Participate in the Challenge

  • Review the 2023 Battle of the Boroughs Student Guide (grades K-5 or 6-12 Grade).
  • You can access the NYC World in the New & Featured section of the game. You can also find it in the library in the sustainability section. In addition, you can directly download the 2023 Battle of the Boroughs Minecraft World.
  • Load the world using Minecraft Education and explore the different spaces, taking care to meet the different city officials and representatives who can give you more information.
  • In the final world location, you will be led to the build plate where you can begin to build your challenge solution.
  • Use the 2023 Battle of the Boroughs Teachers Guide to get more specific information to support you in your build.
  • Review the rubric and the challenge prompt before you start so you understand what the judges are looking for.
  • Work on your challenge submission and design a solution using blocks, items, characters, and/or coding in Minecraft.
  • Once you are ready to submit, you (and your teammates, if you are working in a team) should use Microsoft Flip to create a video tour of your Minecraft build, with a voiceover explaining your project.
  • Submit your project through a Flip screen recording that is no more than 2 minutes in length by April 7. Please make sure to use your @nycstudents.net email address that was assigned to you by the NYCDOE to submit your recording on Flip. (If you do not know what your @nycstudents.net email address is, ask your teacher or an adult at your school so that they can assist you.) Please share the link with your teacher who will submit that information for your team.
  • Teachers: You will also submit your student video information in the Team Submission Form.
  • Check out these tips for using Flip including other options to enhance your video.

Important Dates

Challenge Launches: Wednesday, February 1
Webinar Dates: January 30 or February 3
Deadline for Initial Challenge Submissions: Friday, April 7
Battle of the Boroughs Esports Events: April through June

Resources to Support You

There is non-player character (NPC) support throughout the downloadable world (also available in game in New & Featured), but we want to offer more support too. The student guide (grades K-5 or 6-12) provides a walkthrough of the world along with some technical support. The teacher guide offers an array of additional materials and research options to support student creation. 

To support your project, begin by considering the 17 UN SDGs and their connections to our daily lives. The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere – now and in the future. Those provide a global perspective while the eight goals in the OneNYC 2050 strategic plan address ways to secure the city’s future against the challenges of today and tomorrow through actions that confront our climate crisis, achieve equity, and strengthen our democracy. Beyond those, the mayor’s office has announced several initiatives to address some aspects of the Minecraft Challenge that can be used to inspire any final build.

Resource List

For challenge questions, email us at minecraft@schools.nyc.gov.

Get Started with Minecraft Education

Minecraft Education is free to all NYC Department of Education students through their DOE student account. Have your teacher or Club advisor review the Technical Guide for more information on installation and troubleshooting.

Download Minecraft

  1. Download Minecraft: Education for Windows, Mac, iPad, or Chromebook.

    • If you have a DOE-issued iPad, the Minecraft app should already be on your device.

    • If you have a school-issued Chromebook (from 2019 or newer), you will need help from your school's technology teacher to download the software. 

  2. Sign in using your NYCDOE student account. You will need to ask your school or teacher if you’re unsure about yours.

Guide to Multiplayer

Minecraft’s multiplayer mode is one of the most popular and effective ways to leverage Minecraft and is a great way to keep students connected with classmates, even when collaborating from home. Working together encourages collaboration, communication, and problem-solving as students work together on projects in a shared Minecraft world. The Education Edition of Minecraft makes multiplayer mode much easier to engage in.

Players can be in different locations on different internet services, but they must all be using the same domain (i.e. DOE’s nycstudents.net or schools.nyc.gov). The teacher can host a world or students can join another player’s world if given the join information. The abilities of players in multiplayer mode can be restricted in settings. You can find a full overview of procedures and restrictions in the Minecraft Education Multiplayer Guide. A school or home’s configuration or firewall settings can cause issues, but the guide does offer troubleshooting support.

For technical questions, email us at minecraft@schools.nyc.gov.

Guide to Coding

Computer programming is what created Minecraft, but you can do your own coding easily inside Minecraft with incredible results. Whether using slash commands or building with the agent, you can program large sets of blocks to be placed quickly. It’s a much faster way to build a whole city block or subway platform than doing it manually. You can also use the agent to manage processes like farming or water management while you tour your build space.

Whether you have participated in the Hour of Code or you’re new to coding, we’re here to support you. 

  • Press C to call your agent and get started.
  • Choose your coding editor. We recommend MakeCode for beginners.
  • You can select a new project to start your own design or choose one of the many built-in tutorials like build a house, gold stairs, or chicken rain.
  • For more guidance, you can View Library and Choose Subject Kits in the menu to find several built-in computer science and digital citizenship worlds and connected lessons.
  • You can explore the full 200 hours of K-12 Minecraft coding or start with an online training course for teachers.

For Minecraft coding or general computer science education questions, email us at CSeducation@schools.nyc.gov.