Launch of new educational Minecraft games to inspire next generation
05 Sep 2021
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We've enlisted the help of local schools and Minecraft, the world’s best-selling video game, to inspire the next generation of talented tech experts, engineers, scientists and mathematicians in Kent and Essex.
Today, students in Kent and Essex will be able to have a go at building some of the most ambitious road projects in a generation, which have been recreated as Minecraft games. The games, which provide a fresh new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning experience, include two based on the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, a new road that will almost double road capacity across the Thames east of London through the longest road tunnels in the UK and create new parks and woodland.
Pupils at East Tilbury Primary in Thurrock and St George's CE Secondary School in Gravesend helped to develop the games by piloting them and providing their feedback.
Lotti Coldwells, Teacher at East Tilbury Primary, said: “Both the pupils and staff involved were really impressed by the scope of the games. They were fun to play but also very educational. It was interesting for the pupils to learn about the wide variety of jobs and skills required for the construction of a tunnel under the Thames and how much technology is used.
"It is great to have been asked to help National Highways and good to be developing contacts with the Lower Thames Crossing, which will have a direct impact on this community.”
Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, said: “Encouraging young people to explore STEM subjects in a fun and interactive way can spark interest and imagination. With National Highways and the Lower Thames Crossing engaging schools through gaming, I hope it will enable students to understand the huge career opportunities available in technology, engineering and mathematics. I look forward to seeing young people across the region getting involved.”
Shaun Pidcock, Lower Thames Crossing Programme Director, said: “These games are a key investment into future careers. They have been designed to inspire the new generation to work on the most transformational projects in the country.
“The proposed Lower Thames Crossing would support more than 22,000 people over the lifetime of its construction and we hope that the Crossing and these games will be a gateway for young people in our local communities to a long and fulfilling career.”
"Encouraging young people to explore STEM subjects in a fun and interactive way can spark interest and imagination. With National Highways and the Lower Thames Crossing engaging schools through gaming, I hope it will enable students to understand the huge career opportunities available in technology, engineering and mathematics. I look forward to seeing young people across the region getting involved."Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock
Five new Minecraft games have been developed, with a further three based upon National Highways’ A303 Stonehenge and A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet schemes. Each have lesson plans aligned to the national curriculum, showcasing skills, including archaeology, ecology, civil engineering, communications technology, and coding. Teachers with access to the Microsoft Education Edition (MEE) can use in the classroom with their students aged 7-11 (key stage 2) and 11-14 (key stage 3) or during lunchtimes and after schools clubs using the Creative Modes where students can design and build. MEE is also available for parents to download at home.
The Lower Thames Crossing games include:
- Tunnel Digging: Students will be learning about tunnelling and have the chance to excavate and build a portion of the new Lower Thames Crossing tunnel using a Minecraft model.
- Sign Safety: Students will be the controller behind keeping the new Lower Thames Crossing safe. Using Make Code, they will manage road signs responding to different scenarios, including severe weather conditions and wandering animals.
The Lower Thames Crossing have ambitious plans to support long-term skills and employment needs in Kent and Essex. In its peak year of construction, it expected to employ 10,000 jobs, including hundreds of apprenticeships and create work for hundreds of businesses.
In partnership with STEM Learning’s STEM Ambassador Hub South East and The Careers & Enterprise Company, we are planning to hold virtual events to demonstrate the games and support their use with more schools in the area. We are asking for schools and alternative provisions to register their interest now, please see our school resources page for more information.
The Minecraft games were created by Blockbuilders C.I.C, an expert company aimed at engaging young people into planning, the environment and local history using Minecraft.