2017 contest details coming soon

2016 Minecraft for Classroom Challenge

Summertime—and the living’s easy, especially when you’re young and school’s out for summer. And while I certainly encourage everyone to lap up as much outdoor summer fun as one can reasonably withstand, I’ve got a little indoor project worth checking out. Did I mention prizes?

Here’s the gist. As many already know, Minecraft is a very popular video game. It’s available on smartphones, tablets, PC, Xbox. It’s also, by the way, a platform educators have been using to engage students (when I was growing up, Oregon Trail and SimCity were all the rage).

It occurred to me that Minecraft has all the parts necessary to create an open-ended water challenge. Thus, welcome the inaugural 2016 Minecraft Water Challenge.

In a Minecraft-shaped nutshell, it’s a contest using the video game, you guessed it, Minecraft. The contest is for 1st- through 12th-grade students. And don’t worry my elementary-school friends, you won’t have to compete against high-schoolers. Rather, there are three contest brackets: 1st-5th grade; 6th-8th grade; and 9th-12th grade. However, all students will need parental permission to enter.

For each age bracket, there is a first-, second-, and third-place spot up for grabs. First place will receive $500. Second place will receive $250. Third place will receive $100.

The contest is based off the completion of three open-ended objectives: depict where your water comes from; how it’s delivered; and where it ends up.

By James Ridgway, Jr.

Education / Public Awareness Coordinator
Lone Star GCD

Contest Deadline (Passed)

August 21, 2016


Contest Rules

  • Complete Objectives 1-3 (listed in article below)

  • Create and post YouTube video with project summary in video description box.

  • Complete submission form

*One entry per person
*Must be a resident of Montgomery County, TX or attend a school within county’s boundaries.

Age Groups

  • 1st-5th grade

  • 6th-8th grade

  • 9th-12th grade

Awards (for each age group)

  • First Place: $500

  • Second Place: $250

  • Third Place: $100

Objective One

Build something that shows viewers where your water comes from (Hint: faucet isn’t going to cut it. This objective requires you to identify the local water source(s) that connects to your actual home … then depict that source within the game). This may require a little research. It may require a parent/student call to the local water supplier (parental involvement, especially for the youngest youngsters is certainly encouraged). The answer varies depending on where a given resident resides. Some are exclusively on public water systems supplied solely by groundwater. Some have private wells. Some have a blend of surface water and groundwater. Also, when it comes to groundwater, it’s worth trying to find out what aquifer or aquifers that water is originating from.

As far as visually depicting this first objective—have fun. That’s what I mean by open-ended objectives. You don’t need to actually pump water out of your virtual Minecraft ground—just build something that depicts where your water is coming from. Creating an in-game sign or two with the relevant information on it might be helpful, too.


Objective Two

Depict how water can be delivered. This is also worth researching. Pipes?—probably. But what about all those water towers out there. Ever wonder what those giants are doing? This task is less restrictive than the first and I’m certain there’s a lot of room for some really creative ideas. Objective one specifically asks you to show where your water comes from. With objective two, you don’t have to go dig up any local water infrastructure schematics—just have fun finding a way to visualize how that water is delivered. You can achieve this with rigorous, real-world detail or take a more fantastic approach—there’s no right or wrong approach here—you just have to ask yourself whether you’ve visually depicted the transportation of water.


Objective Three

This one requires you to show where the water is being delivered. It could be your home. But it doesn’t have to be. It could be a business. It could be a farm or ranch. It could be anything really—anything which requires fresh water. The sky’s the limit—literally (that’s my one allotted Minecraft pun).


Submission Process

To submit your entry, make a 30-second video (at least 30 seconds—try not to go longer than three minutes, please) and upload it to YouTube. The video simply needs to show that each objective was met. It doesn’t have to look like J.J. Abrams directed it. Shoot it with a smartphone if you like. If you made yours on a smartphone, see if you can use another smartphone to record it. And remember, parental involvement is encouraged.

In the YouTube description, write a brief summary explaining what you made and how it meets each of the three objectives. If you’re good with video editing, feel free to dazzle it up—drop a mad boss-wave bass-driven beat (but, come on, keep it rated G)—just know editing dazzle isn’t part of the judging criteria. But it certainly can be fun.

The judging, first and foremost, will be seeking projects that successfully meet all three objectives. From there, originality, creativity, and the application of critical thinking will be the driving factors.

Almost done. An official, online submission form is available on our website at lonestargcd.org. Don’t worry—no need to print, scan, or fax anything. Just complete and submit the form by August 21.

Parents may email meat jridgway@lonestargcd.org if any further clarification is required.

Good luck, everyone!