Liverpool City Council this year ran the first ever Minecraft competition for local primary school students – Build the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.
There was an overwhelmingly positive response. Twelve schools from the Liverpool LGA – 10 public and two independent – submitted very high quality entries.
Teachers said the engagement levels among the hundreds of participating students was very high and the majority said the competition was a great idea.
Students from the winning school – Dalmeny Public - spent recess and lunch times working on their entry in the school library.
Their first prize of $10,000 will be used for a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) or related project at the school.
The winning students (pictured below) took their work to an international audience and met NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian at the Western Sydney Aerotropolis Investor Forum.
Second-place winners Christapelphian Heritage College received $4000 and Greenway Park Public received $2000 for the third prize.
The competition attracted a high quality judging panel consisting of Greater Sydney Commission CEO Sarah Hill, Western Sydney University Vice Chancellor (Digital Futurezs) Kevin Bell and Liverpool Council Manager, Aerotropolis Bruce Macnee.
In the lead-up to the competition Liverpool City Council organised a Professional Development Day for teachers, convened by Microsoft learning consultant Megan Townes and held at WSU’s new state-of-theart campus in Liverpool.
The winning students took their work to an international audience and met NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian at the Western Sydney Aerotropolis Investor Forum.
Most of the 22 teachers who attended said they benefited from the practical information they gained in a hands-on environment.
Council provided schools with an online information pack and guide to entering the competition.
Teachers told us they were able to integrate the competition into class time for subjects including English; Mathematics; HSIE; Space and Geometry; Local Government and Community Science; Transport; Sustainability; Project Collaboration; and the Built Environment.
All schools said they would enter a similar competition again. We have taken on board their suggestions for how we could improve, including longer lead time for the competition.
Next year’s competition would give a full term for students to work on the project and for schools to provide IT support.
Technical barriers to entering were most prevalent among independent schools who were tied to a Google platform and therefore required to ‘uncouple’ devices and reload Microsoft platforms.