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Winners announced for 2023 Surrey Schools Minecraft Challenge

Katzie.jpgKatzie Elementary' winning build in the Intermediate category of the 2023 Surrey Schools Minecraft Challenge. 

The winners have been announced for the 2023 Surrey Schools Minecraft Challenge, which saw students take on bridge engineering for this year’s build.

Entries were divided into three age groups, Primary (K-3), Intermediate (Grades 4-7) and Secondary (Grades 8-12). The winning builds this year are:

  • Primary: KB Bridge Builder Buds (K.B. Woodward Elementary)
  • Intermediate: Division 6 Builders (Katzie Elementary)
  • Secondary: The Grass Community (Guildford Park Secondary)

While last year’s challenge had students recreate their own school in Minecraft, this year students were tasked with building all four bridges that span the Fraser River – The Golden Ears, Port Mann, Pattullo and Alex Fraser bridges. 

KB%20Woodward-1.jpgOne of the bridges in the K.B. Woodward's submission for the Primary category.“We heard from teachers that this year’s build was definitely more of a challenge than last year’s,” said technology helping teacher and challenge founder Gareth Poon. “I think it's good to keep pushing students to think outside the box and it was cool to see how creative they could be with their builds and replicating the various aspects of our bridges.”

Poon said the challenge this year came from having to ensure the bridges came together as a cohesive structure, something more difficult when constructing a structure that stands in the air as opposed to a school on the ground.
 “Communication and collaboration between team members was definitely more important for this year,” he explained. “When building a bridge, you have to make sure all the parts are even, that the bridge deck stays level and that the girders or cables are all lined up with each other, so that definitely upped the challenge for this year.”

This year’s challenge saw 95 student teams from 27 schools across Surrey and White Rock take part. Winning builds were selected based on bridge and river design, as well as details such as accurate lane markings, vehicles and signage.

The nature of this year’s build also meant students had to take a different approach to researching how they would construct the bridges.  

During the 2022 challenge, some student teams went as far as measuring their schools with trundle wheels in order to accurately reconstruct them in Minecraft. This year, Poon said teams explored the differences between a truss or cable-stayed bridge, and which materials would be most appropriate to use for certain bridge purposes.

“So for this year students were able to spent time learning about their local geography, the engineering concepts that go into the structures they see around us and how building over a body of water is very different than building something on land,” he explained.Guildford%20Park.jpgA bridge from Guildford's Park's winning entry for this year's challenge.

As for next year’s challenge, Poon said he and a committee of educators have some ideas in mind and will finalize a theme in early 2024.

“It’s been really fun to see our students continually impress with these builds. As long as the student interest is there, we’ll keep doing it.” 

To download and explore this year’s winning Minecraft builds click here (a Minecraft Education account is required to open the builds).

To learn more about Minecraft Education and explore lesson plans and resources, click here.

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