Minecraft teaches renewable energy to housebound students
Together with Minecraft and Blockworks, EIT InnoEnergy has made Lumen, a game-based learning module that teaches youth about sustainable and renewable energy, available via Minecraft: Education Edition to celebrate Earth Day 2020.
The announcement comes as more than 1.5 billion students are affected by school closures worldwide due to COVID-19. The need for challenging, engaging digital learning experiences has never been more important.
The module, initially developed for nine to 15-year-olds by EIT InnoEnergy in partnership with KU Leuven and Minecraft creator Blockworks, teaches children about the fundamental concepts of energy, which can then be applied to build a sustainably powered Minecraft city. The module includes immersive worlds created by the Minecraft master builders at Blockworks, as well as lessons in sustainable energy.
Minecraft recently announced a new Education Collection for the Marketplace to support families during COVID-19-related school closures. This includes Lumen and a selection of Minecraft’s favourite lessons, such as marine biology, Greek history and even a tour of the International Space Station. These worlds are free to download for Minecraft players until 30 June 2020.
By bringing the module onto Minecraft’s education platform, Lumen supports parents, teachers and students to teach and learn about the energy transition. Now even more learners can explore electricity in a fun way. In fact, more than 35 million educators and students are licensed to use Minecraft: Education Edition in 115 countries, while Minecraft has over 100 million players per month.
Lumen City Challenge and Lumen Power Challenge encourage students to explore different energy sources including wind, solar, hydroelectric, storage, nuclear and coal-fired power. The module also teaches students how to connect and balance supply and demand together to make a grid while also managing cost, revenue, pollution and the happiness of their citizens.
One of the most intricate designs to date is a sustainable microgrid to power an island or a smart city. Mimicking real life, coal-fired generation creates pollution which affects the city’s citizen’s health, helping to teach children about air quality and what they can do to influence it by reducing their own energy demand.
Ten-year-old Josephine from the Netherlands, who has learned how to generate sustainable energy through Lumen, said: “I really like the game because I want to live in a green and clean world. I like to play with different skins and to place green energy generators around my world.
“I learnt what happens to air pollution when I build fossil fuel stations, like a coal power station. I see that my city rating remains low and I earn less money with taxes when I build with coal power.”
EIT InnoEnergy Education Director Prof.Dr.ir. Frank Gielen added: “What better way to engage young citizens in the energy transition, and teach about different types of generation, than through one of their favourite games. We truly believe that the inclusion of Lumen on Minecraft: Education Edition will help shape the next generation of energy engineers.”
Minecraft Director of Learning Programs, Adam Tratt said: “The combination of fun in-game energy challenges and relevant learning content makes us especially excited to bring this amazing set of Minecraft worlds to classrooms and homes around the world for Earth Day.”
Original game developer Johan Driesen said: “Some years ago, I was looking for a computer game to teach kids about energy and climate. When I saw my daughter building great worlds in Minecraft, I knew this was the creative, open environment I was looking for, we just needed to add energy building blocks. That’s how Lumen started.”