May 11, 2022

New Minecraft mode ‘RiverCraft’ teaches students about the real effects of climate change

In collaboration with the UK Environment Agency, Microsoft has launched a new mode of Minecraft: Education Edition. Known as ‘river boat‘, the mode is designed to teach students about the impact of climate change-induced flooding on local communities.

RiverCraft is focusing on the £54.7m flood defense scheme currently being built in Preston, a combination of flood walls, glass panels and embankments, designed to reduce the risk of flooding for nearly 5,000 homes in the area.

The mode contains three different games, each focusing on a different area of ​​climate change-induced flood control. “Managing Flooding” sees players build their own version of Preston’s flood defenses, before flooding the area to measure their success. “Flood Prevention” sees players explore how individuals can help mitigate climate change. Finally, “Our Local Environment” involves conducting an in-game ecological survey to locate and record local wildlife species.

The mode was built on behalf of the Environment Agency by BlockBuilders, a Brighton-based company that specializes in building Minecraft worlds for educational purposes. “We took Preston’s 3D data, which is freely available online, and turned it into a Minecraft world,” said Blockbuilders co-founder Megan Leckie. says Microsoft. “But this data creates generic buildings, so we collected screenshots and images of Preston and added details to the structures to replicate what they look like in real life.”

Flooding is a growing problem in Preston and the wider county of Lancashire, with severe flooding occurring in 2015 and 2020. The former flood affected 2,500 homes and caused damage estimated at £1.3billion. On RiverCraft, Minecraft Learning Programs Director Justin Edwards said the mode is “at the forefront” of Microsoft’s vision to “create a better world through the power of play”.

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