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Middle School Students Put Minecraft to Shame by Designing Smart Cities

Minecraft is among one of the most popular games for students in grades 3-12 and while it teaches students how to create and sustain their own environment, there is a greater world of untapped potential within students. A group of seventh graders put Minecraft on hold and took to designing their own smart cities that far exceed anything possible in the game.

“The Science of Smart Cities, a free four-week class at NYU Polytechnic's School of Engineering, teaches local New York students how to build sustainable urban infrastructure and then lets them work together to design model cities of the future,” according to Fast Coexist.

Students who participated this summer were able to build tiny smart-cities and instead of worrying about farming animals, these students were able to build cities of the future with smart cars, unlimited Wi-Fi and even windmills as another source of renewable energy, according to the report.

“The students started with simple experiments with balloons and string but quickly moved on to building working solar chargers and generators from scratch,” reported Fast Coexist.

“In a week about infrastructure, they experimented with better ways to build landfills. Another week, they built model cars with automatic braking and lane detection.”

These students brought to life concepts that most adults couldn’t begin to dream of. Most impressively their world seemed to be focused around efficiency and persevering smart ways of harnessing energy.

"They really broadened the concepts and applied them in all sorts of creative ways," says Ben Esner, director of the school's center for K-12 STEM Education, according to the report.

"We said, 'You know conceptually about clean energy, good landfill design, good urban planning principles, so what would you do with that?'"

The students chose New York City as their starting point and took an in-depth look at their city to see what improvements they could make in order to help the cities thrive in a cleaner and more efficient way. It almost makes you wonder what you were so busy doing in seventh grade to overlook these issues and solutions.

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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