Mining for new talent
National Highways teams up with video game to find new talent
Students can now immerse themselves in three of National Highways’ latest developments through the game.
The aim is for young people to get experience in everything road designers have to consider when planning schemes. The projects include the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet improvements and the A303 past Stonehenge.
The virtual taster will give players an insight into the skills the agency uses in the real world. Building mass road projects involves many disciplines of engineering and design. It covers elements of everything from archaeology, biology and ecology, to civil engineering, communications technology and coding.
Minecraft does much the same for players, utilising their imagination, knowledge and design skills.
There are five games and a Creative Mode. These come with lesson plans teachers can use for students aged 7-11 (key stage 2) and 11-14 (key stage 3).
Natalie Jones, National Highways Talent Delivery Lead, said: “We want to inspire the next generation of talented engineers and scientists, on whom the country’s infrastructure and national economy will one day depend.
“Our ambition is to seek out the next James Dyson or Dame Sarah Gilbert and help put them on the path to a fascinating life and career.
“With the help of Minecraft and the in-game activities, students will get first-hand experience of what would go into building a huge bridge or digging a giant tunnel.
“These skills and expertise help to create the motorways and main roads that keep us all moving, whether going to work, delivering goods or keeping families and friends connected.”
The new activities will include:
- Lower Thames Crossing – Tunnel Digging
- Lower Thames Crossing – Signs game
- A428 Black to Caxton Gibbet improvements – Natural Habitats game
- A303 Stonehenge – Across the Ages
- A303 Stonehenge – Biodiversity game
The Minecraft models are designed to educate users about the process, and how to excavate and build a portion of the tunnel. This method of learning will also be replicated in the other games. These could virtually explore the biodiversity of an area by photographing the plants and animals in the landscape.
The educational package is aligned to the national curriculum. It is available to all teachers and schools who have access to Microsoft Education Centre.
The Minecraft Co-Director of Youth Engagement, Megan Leckie, said: “Creative platforms such as these open up a whole new world of learning for young people, where they can be directly engaged with their local environment and find out more about engineering.”