Minecraft Education Challenge

2021 Minecraft Education Challenge to Build a Better Tomorrow!

The 2021 Minecraft Education Challenge to Build a Better Tomorrow for New York City! challenged students to use Minecraft: Education Edition to design and build a solution that supports sustainable communities and reduces inequities for everyone; whether in their home borough, neighborhood, or throughout New York City.

Minecraft: Education Edition is free to all NYC Department of Education students through their DOE student account. See step 2 below for instructions on how to access your student account to download Minecraft: Education Edition for free

Get Started with Minecraft Education Edition

The deadline to submit a build for the 2021 Minecraft Education Challenge has passed. Watch this video to learn more about the challenge and join us on June 11 for the live-build esports Battle of the Boroughs Competition! Stay tuned for more details coming soon! For questions, email us at STEM@schools.nyc.gov

Download Minecraft

If you need your student account, follow these simple steps, or ask your teacher for help.

  1. Download Minecraft: Education Edition for Windows, Mac, iPad, and Chromebook.
  2. After you download the software, you will sign in using your NYCDOE student account.
  3. If you have a DOE issued iPad, the Minecraft app should already be on your device.
  4. 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. 

The Challenge

Over the past 12 months, our city has had to adapt as a result of COVID-19. As we move forward together, how might we redesign our city to reinvigorate and enhance the lives of New Yorkers? 

Drawing from the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New York City’s OneNYC 2050 strategic plan, identify an issue and build a solution in Minecraft: Education Edition that will have a positive impact for New York City’s future.

For example... think about how you might redesign a local community space to be more inclusive for people of all ages and abilities… or what you could design to re-think how the city can reduce car pollution and other carbon emissions?

How to Participate in the Challenge

  • Review the SDGs and choose at least one SDG to focus your build.
  • When thinking about New York City, either the whole city, your borough or neighborhood, check out OneNYC 2050 for more specific information about the city and consider how New York City's strategic plan overlaps with the SDGs. 
  • Once you have access to Minecraft: Education Edition, open a new world using either a template world like Blocks of Grass or a biome world.
  • Review the rubric before you start so you understand what the judges are looking for.
  • Work on your challenge submission and design a solution using blocks and items in Minecraft to address a pressing issue facing New York City.
  • Once you are ready to submit, each student (or team) should use Flipgrid to create a video touring their Minecraft build, with voiceover explaining their project. Make sure to include how your build addresses one of the SDGs and supports the needs of the community you are aiming to serve.
  • Submit your project through a Flipgrid screen recording that is no more than 1-minute and 30-seconds in length.
  • Check out these tips for using Flipgrid.

Battle of the Boroughs

This year's challenge has two parts.

  • Part 1: Build a Better Tomorrow – Build Challenge
  • Part 2: Battle of the Boroughs – Live eSports Competition

Part 1 is open to all DOE students. The best submissions from each grade will be showcased on a FlipGrid Mixtape in the first week of June. 

Part 2 involves selecting the middle and high school students with the best submissions from each borough. These students will be grouped into two middle school and two high school teams from each borough, each team made up of five students. These 20 teams (10 middle school and 10 high school) will move forward to compete in a live-build challenge. Teams will face off in timed build challenges in a single-elimination bracket tournament. Matches will streamed live for all to watch and cheer their borough teams forward.

Part 1 builds will be judged using this rubric. 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 rubric for Part 2 will be provided to students prior to the live esports competition.

Important Dates

  • Challenge begins: Tuesday, April 13, 2021
  • High School submission deadline EXTENDED to: Friday, May 14, 2021
  • Elementary and Middle School submission deadline: Friday, May 14, 2021
  • Announce high school Battle of the Boroughs teams: Friday, May 21, 2021
  • Announce middle school Battle of the Boroughs teams: Friday, May 28, 2021
  • Build a Better Tomorrow! Flipgrid Mixtape Showcase (all grades): First week in June 2021 
  • Battle of the Boroughs eSports Competition: Tuesday, June 1 – Friday, June 11, 2021 (Stay tuned for more details coming soon!)

Research Resources

Begin your research by reviewing the SDGs and choose at least one SDG to focus your build. Check out these resources that will help with your research. When thinking about New York City, either the whole city, your borough or neighborhood, spend some time reviewing our city's strategic plan, OneNYC 2050 for more specific information about the city. Consider how the city's strategic plan overlaps with the SDGs.

Guide to Multiplayer

Multiplayer 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 remotely. Working together encourages collaboration, communication and problem solving as students work together on projects in a shared Minecraft world.

Multiplayer across different internet connections is possible as long as the criteria in the multiplayer guide is met. Every home network is different, so it's possible that some players may not be able to join a multiplayer session from their respective networks due to distinct configuration settings. Anti-virus and firewall applications may block access to multiplayer, so ensure you configure these programs to allow access to Minecraft: Education Edition.

For students in grades 6-12, if you opt to collaborate with classmates and your submission is selected for Part 2, you will only be able to send ONE team member to the esports tournament. The team will choose which member will represent the team in the tournament.

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