Building to Break Barriers
An outreach project that aims to engage children with engineering, using the computer game Minecraft.
Building to Break Barriers was an outreach project that ran between 2020 and 2022, supported by a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious Award, and part of the Science Hunters suite of projects, Building to Break Barriers engaged children from under-represented groups with engineering using the computer game Minecraft, a popular computer game that allows players to build limitless, imaginative creations.
Minecraft’s endless building possibilities have many analogies to real-world processes, and so can be used to demonstrate and explain scientific concepts. Minecraft is an effective science communication tool, and its use in educational settings helps children learn and gives them a sense of ownership and expertise. For more information about our approach to using Minecraft in this way, please see the Science Hunters page and linked information within it.
Building to Break Barriers co-produced new engineering outreach sessions with volunteer engineers, and children and young people. Sessions were delivered to schools, specific groups, and at Minecraft clubs around the UK. To increase representation, children involved came from under-represented groups, and so did some of the engineers.
Building to Break Barriers was funded via an Ingenious Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering, with additional support from a Biochemical Society Diversity in Science grant. It was a collaborative project with Lancaster University and Loughborough University, led by UWE Bristol.
Minecraft and Engineering education resources
The resources below were developed, in collaboration with engineers as indicated, as part of Building to Break Barriers. They are placed into broad themes for ease of use (please note that some resources appear in multiple theme groups).
Natural hazards and environments
Redstone and robotics
Sport and leisure
Engaging children with STEM through Minecraft resources
- Engaging children with STEM using Minecraft (PDF)
(Please note this guide was produced in 2021. Information contained within this document may be subject to change and should be confirmed by users, and does not constitute recommendations).
- Engagement through Minecraft: Available editions (PDF) on the available editions of Minecraft has been developed through Science Hunters.
This guide was produced in 2021 as part of the Building to Break Barriers project, supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering under the Ingenious Awards scheme (please note that the information contained within this document is subject to change and should be confirmed by users, and does not constitute recommendations).
Publications and presentations
- Inclusive exploration of sustainable goals and solutions through Minecraft. International Conference for Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society, 2022. Winner of a Chair’s Award.
- Exploring engineering solutions to environmental hazards through Minecraft. European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2022.