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β€œ(Mine)Crafting A Better Future: Net Zero Challenge”

Creators: Brit, Esraa, Jay, Kam, Zach, Marvy
High School Students from Mouse Design League (DIIT) @ John Dewey High School
Type of Project:
  • Audio/Video,
  • Game Design,
  • Visual Art & Design
Themes of Project:
  • Community Advocacy,
  • Environment/Sustainability,
  • Resource Sharing
Minecraft Club Photo

About this Project:

One of the recent builds in our Minecraft Club is the 2022 NYCDOE Minecraft Education Net Zero Challenge. Focusing on making buildings in NYC more sustainable, our devoted esports team members have done extensive research on environmental solutions and problems in our modern day and used their research in every block of their builds. Our research and building competitions inspired us to take climate action, join the Billion Oyster Project and NY Harbor Symposium to spread the word about our work, and to learn more from everyone else about what else we could be doing for our coastal communities.

Having participated in sustainability building challenges prior, when we heard about Net Zero challenge we were ecstatic. We immediately tried to put together a dedicated team of students so we could start working on brainstorming ideas for our theme. There were three themes offered for the Net Zero challenge: Zero Waste, Greener Buildings, and Efficient Transportation. After deliberation with the team, we chose the theme of Greener Buildings. With this theme, we could do a Minecraft build that’s diverse in ideas and can cover many edges of the sustainability spectrum.

We knew we wanted our build to be influenced by the area around Coney Island, so our next step was taking a trip to Coney Island Creek. On our trip, we worked with specialists from Billion Oyster Project, the American Littoral Society, and marine biologists who have worked at New York Harbor. Working with these specialists gave us a unique and informative experience, as we put on our waders to seine in the ocean and observe the different sea creatures living in the water. Although we did not find any oysters while seining, we found and examined a variety of species such as comb jellyfish and baby shrimp. Afterwards, we studied their impacts on the ecosystem. Besides seining, we also ran various tests in the water to check the chloroform, phosphorous, and nitrate levels at Coney Island Creek. We also ran a test to examine the levels of fecal matter in the ocean and compared the water near the sewer to the water out in the ocean to see how they vary. Billion Oyster Project taught us a lot about our local ecosystem and how we can help protect it, and broadened our perspectives to want to consider careers and volunteer jobs in marine biology and eco-sustainability.

Next, we headed back to our school to begin brainstorming ideas. We gathered our team after school and started a brainstorming session where we documented every idea we had onto a white board, using our previous knowledge and what we learned on the trip to come up with sustainable solutions. We then picked our favorite ideas and started to draw out a map of what our potential build would look like. We drew out where every building would go, and what would be inside those buildings. Working with a plan like this has helped us tremendously for staying organized and making sure everyone is on the same page when building. Then, we began the actual build. We only had about a week and a half to complete our build, so we met for a couple of hours everyday to work on our build. Teamwork and hard work were vital in this step, to ensure everyone was working coherently and the builds made sense.

Finally, after our build was complete, we wrote a script of dialogue for the video. We all recorded our voice lines for the video, screen recorded, and edited our build into a beautiful comprehensive video. Our video was broadcasted at the Stockholm+50 conference in Sweden about climate change!

Project Media


JDHS Coney Island Creek JDHS Minecraft Brainstorm JDHS Minecraft Club Building JDHS Minecraft Club Building 2



More About this Project

The photos feature our Minecraft Club and their work for their NYC Net Zero build. We visited Coney Island Creek and seined in the water to learn more about local environment, brainstormed ideas for our build, and then began to build it in Minecraft. One video showcases our presentation for the Net Zero build and while the other video is a case study filmed by Microsoft highlighting our story.

Share this project:

Community Feedback:

Great Design
Makes Me Think

Feedback from the Judges:

Danny Jimenez
πŸ‘ Library Technical Assistant III at New York Public Library — Emoti-Con Judge
The project was outstanding. Seeing the 2 minute demo was great and a great way to show how community comes together to solve issues. Great effort behind all of this, the team did an amazing job!

Ashley Paskill
πŸ‘ Contributing Writer at Uloop — Emoti-Con Judge
This is definitely one of the best projects I've seen. It is so fun and engaging. Minecraft is still popular and is widely used as an educational tool, so being able to create an environmentally-friendly and accessible NYC in the game is incredible and very creative. The presentation was very well done and the amount of research that went into this is super impressive. This gives me such hope for the future- we are in excellent hands!

Jonah Brucker-Cohen
πŸ‘ Associate Professor of Digital Media and Networked Culture at Lehman College / City University of New York — Emoti-Con Judge
This is one of the best projects I've seen so far. It's really imaginative and has some great concepts like roof greenhouses and restaurants on every building and sustainable stores and markets in the buildings themselves. Minecraft is a great way to showcase this reality - although I would have liked to see a VR build or at least the start of one to see how it might be possible to interact with this world.

Uche Arinze
πŸ‘ Creative Director / Founder at Apeiron Creatives — Emoti-Con Judge
Great job team Net Zero challenge; I am deeply inspired by the amazing efforts of using a pretty interactive Lego visual. Every of your presentation is well-detailed, accurate and no stone unturned. We are in the era of sustainability and the team can look at the Sustainable development goals and how Net Zero challenge will be adding its quota to achieving the SDGs by 2030.

Feedback from the Community:

Abdullah πŸ‘ a High School Student
It was nice to have a visual to solutions my generation has come up with! I loved the creativity these students have!
Salwa πŸ‘ a College Representative from Brooklyn NY
Kamilla πŸ‘ a High School Student
πŸ‘ a High School Student
As someone whos been playing Minecraft for years this is such an awesome project! Cant wait to see what you guys to next!
πŸ‘ a High School Student
This project really had a unique take on solutions to sustainability. I really liked how they used Minecraft Education to visualize their plans and it was really well thought out.
πŸ‘ a Community Member
great creative work in the community driven by passionate students and teachers!
Jen πŸ‘ a Teacher from South Brooklyn
So thoughtful!!!! Yall are truly community builders. I want to live in your cubetopia.
Mr. Rahim πŸ‘ a Teacher from New York
It is amazing to witness first hand the incredible work Mr. Ahmed and his students are doing. They are revolutionizing the integration of digital platforms to combat the most pressing needs in our world today. I look forward to witnessing their continued success. Wish you all the best!
Ms. Devore πŸ‘ a Teacher from Los Osos, CA/Brooklyn, NY
This gives me hope for the future. You show that you bring creative thinking to problem solving.
B. Frias πŸ‘ a Teacher from John Dewey High School
Amazing creativity and passion! I am proud to be cheering you all on to bigger and greater accomplishments!
Michael Luppino πŸ‘ a Teacher from John Dewey High School
I applaud the efforts of John Dewey High School! They are utilizing technology to create innovative projects to serve the various needs of the future.
Marina Dale πŸ‘ a Teacher from Brooklyn, United States
Excellent learning experience for students that hits John Dewey's philosophy of "learn by doing". This also gets students prepared for this technology revolution and future career pathways.
Jamil πŸ‘ a Technology Professional from Brooklyn, NY
It's refreshing to see sustainability presented to students with such a creative project. It goes beyond the dry facts and figures that dominate the climate change discussion and instead gets people directly involved. From wading through our waterways to programming energy efficient virtual buildings, we see the whole process that is involved with sustainability initiatives. What I enjoyed most about this project was that it exposes students to real-life STEM-focused careers that prioritize the environment: architecture, engineering, chemistry and more. We need more students to pursue these essential career paths. It never ceases to amaze me the ways people continue to design, build and innovate in Minecraft. Well done!
πŸ‘ a Teacher
Nancy Woods πŸ‘ a Teacher from Brooklyn, NY
This is the epitome of what impactful 21st Century teaching and learning looks like. We need to see more authentic & transformational work like this coming out of our schools! Keep up the great work team Dewey!
Kristine πŸ‘ a Parent from NYC
This club is wonderful. All students coming together and having fun while learning.
πŸ‘ a Middle School Student from Switzerland
Very cool
Kim πŸ‘ a Teacher
Yall are doing some great work out here!!
πŸ‘ a Community Member
I love Fortnite
Cheyann πŸ‘ a High School Student from NYC
I really like the project and the effort behind it.
David πŸ‘ a Middle School Student
Love the Minecraft video
Brayan πŸ‘ a Middle School Student
I like this and I also love Minecraft
Alex πŸ‘ a Community Member from Queens, NY
The sky is the limit for these young minds. I look forward to what this team accomplishes in the future.
oscar πŸ‘ a Middle School Student
this project is great!!
Tatiana πŸ‘ a Parent
Very cool project, amazing to see what children can do in a media they are comfortable in.
πŸ‘ a Middle School Student from Brooklyn, NY
I thought this project was amazing, especially the research and presentation! It really shows how much time and dedication was put into the project, and the presentation clearly explained every aspect of your build.

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