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Rivercraft: The First Minecraft World That Teaches Kids About Climate Change

Meet Rivercraft, the first Minecraft world designed to teach kids about the effects of climate change on the planet

Rivercraft is more than just a traditional world for kids to place blocks and have fun; it’s also a part of Minecraft: Education Edition. This is a version of the famous game Minecraft and it has features built for creating learning environments to support coding, collaboration and assessment. 

Rivercraft was designed by The UK Environment Agency and its purpose is to encourage children to learn more about environment-based careers, discover more about a significant flooding scheme in the UK and understand the dangers of climate change.   

The world Is based on the £54.7million flood risk management scheme in Preston and South Ribble and employs Artificial Intelligence to map a region and turn it into a Minecraft map. The world is set to be made globally available and translated to multiple languages in 112 countries.

The flood risk management scheme began construction in October 2021 and plans to reduce flood risk to 4,700 homes and businesses through the Preston Riversway and reach higher Walton and the M6. The scheme’s construction is scheduled to be completed by summer 2023 and will also deliver improved access to the River Ribble.

RIvercraft Graphic

RIvercraft Graphic © Microsoft

 It’s impressive how Minecraft is being used as an educational tool for kids to learn the effects of worldwide phenomena and what they can do to stop them. To help educate children, the game features three principal learning objectives. Game one consists of managing flood risk. In this game, players can identify towns, cities, and catchments most vulnerable to flooding. It could be fluvial (from rivers), the sea (tidal and coastal), and surface (pluvial) water flooding. 

The second game is climate change and flooding. In this game, the players are taught how climate change can exacerbate flooding in Preston. While the third game is environment and wellbeing. It aims to promote the use of local parks, wetland habitats, and sports facilities for well-being. It also teaches players about invasive species, priority species, and habitats.

Each game takes around 45 to 60 minutes to complete and once they start playing, students spawn into the Environment Agency offices, where they can interact with the Environment Agency experts. These NPCs are actually real-life members of the project team and provide information and greetings.

Rivercraft provides players with opportunities to learn more about mitigating the effects of climate change while also learning about flood prevention in a fun and safe environment.

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