Earth is home to an amazing biodiversity that sustains life in our delicate and changing ecosystems. That’s why over a billion citizens come together on April 22nd to celebrate Earth Day and address the challenges that threaten our planet. This year’s theme–Invest in our Future–serves as a call to action for people across the world to engage in measures that slow down melting ice caps and rising global temperatures. Scientists and Earth Day organizers alike believe that each one of us can take small steps that make a lasting, meaningful difference to our planet’s long-term sustainability.
Celebrate our Earth throughout April by exploring climate-focused Minecraft worlds, live Flip events, and Reflect check-ins that will excite students of all ages to critically think about their global impact.
Remake the Earth in Minecraft Education
Students love Minecraft Education because it allows them to explore new worlds and create habitable environments for creatures big and small. Educators love Minecraft because it delivers engaging, problem-solving experiences that include ready-to-go challenges, lessons, and resources.
Nancy Woods and colleagues at John Dewey High School in New York City capitalized on their students’ interest in Minecraft by creating a sustainable urban design challenge that dovetailed with a cleanup project at a local estuary. Students recreated a model of their creek in Minecraft and then worked on different virtual solutions that would better protect the estuaries. The students’ work sparked the NYC Department of Education to launch a “Battle of the Boroughs” competition to design green city solutions in Minecraft Education!
“Minecraft is used to engage students in envisioning and building a greener city. Programs like Battle of the Boroughs ... give students a voice and a cause. This is so important as we prepare students for the future, and for jobs that our cities need: in renewable energy, climate resilience, green building, and sustainable transit.” - Nancy Woods, Educator, John Dewey High School
Minecraft Education’s Earth Day resources and lessons are equally engaging and inspiring. Each one includes real-world connections and opportunities to address sustainability issues that affect our world. Ready for more? Check out Minecraft Education’s Climate & Sustainability Kit to see additional collections that make environmental education come alive.
1. Join Minecraft Education for Earth Week 2023 live workshops!
Minecraft Education is excited to offer a series of live, virtual classroom workshops to celebrate Earth Week featuring our Frozen Planet II Minecraft worlds created in partnership with BBC Earth. Running from April 18-27, each workshop will guide students through one of the five unique, immersive worlds, Frozen Ocean, Peaks, Lands, Worlds, or South.
Students will be immersed in a 75-minute experience where they will learn about the remarkable animals of our frozen planet and the impacts of climate change on their habitats. They will have the opportunity to protect their polar bear cubs, hunt as a killer whale, and gather nectar as a bumblebee. Play as eight different animals and learn what it takes to survive and thrive in the harsh conditions of the global cryosphere.
2. Build a sustainable city by understanding human impact
Explore six Minecraft worlds that help students understand sustainability, stewardship, and the value of making environment-friendly changes in their everyday lives. The worlds and accompanying resources explore important issues like building sustainable homes, managing waste, clean energy, responsible forestry, and more. Whether it’s understanding food production or learning about water treatment, students get to experience issues and make substantiable decisions that can carry over to the real world.
3. Ensuring a lasting future by addressing climate today
Minecraft Education developed a set of lessons and worlds that align with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals to build a climate-conscious future. Investigate how transportation contributes to increased greenhouse emissions, study deforestation’s impact on our environment, and identify strategies to reduce the environmental changes caused by mass food production. Each experience will place students at the center of some of our most pressing climate problems.
Boost climate consciousness with FLIP events
Broaden students’ awareness of our Earth by joining Flip live events during April. The Flip team is offering students a chance to collaborate with other young activists, speak with a NASA scientist who is monitoring polar ice caps and climate change, and hear from bestselling author and illustrator, Ryan T. Higgins.
Make sure to register so that your class can participate in each one of these exciting experiences!
4. Learn from young activists who are making big changes through small steps
Title: Eco-anxiety and Sustainability
Date: April 11, 12pm PT
Join the Flip Team for an engaging panel discussion on Eco-Anxiety and the Power of Small Steps. Our young activist panelists will share their experiences and creative ideas on how to incorporate sustainable practices into everyday life, inspiring viewers to take action towards a better future for our planet. This is an excellent opportunity to gain insights from leaders in the sustainability movement and learn how small changes yield a significant impact.
Register for this free event today.
5. Hear how NASA scientists are studying sea ice to understand climate change
Title: Celebrate Earth Day with NASA
Date: April 20, 10am PT
Join NASA STEM and the Flip team for a special Earth Day event featuring Dr. Rachel Louise Tilling, a Polar Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the fascinating research Dr. Tilling is conducting to monitor the global sea ice cover and its response to climate change using satellite technology. Dr. Tilling will share her experiences working in both the Arctic and Antarctic and students will learn how the latest advancements in satellite technology are being used to understand climate change.
The NASA STEM team also released some amazing Flip Topics that will help your students understand how scientists are solving some of Earth’s most pressing challenges.
Register for this free event today.
6. Join Ryan T. Higgins as he explains how he creates his loveable animals
Title: In the Studio with Ryan T. Higgins!
Date: April 27, 10am PT
Best-selling and award-winning author/illustrator Ryan T. Higgins invites you into his studio to share how he creates his books. Discover his new book, We Don’t Lose Our Class Goldfish, and learn how to draw one of his characters!
Ryan T. Higgins is the author and illustrator of the New York Times best-selling Mother Bruce, which received the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award and the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor; Hotel Bruce; BE QUIET!; and Bruce's Big Move. He lives in Maine with his wife and kids and lots of pets.
Register for this free event today.
Reflect on your impact and take action
Bonus resource: Earth Day and Beyond Reflect Lesson
To help students consider their feelings around climate change and the positive impact they can make, we’ve created a Microsoft Reflect lesson you can use on Earth Day and beyond. With guidance on how to discuss topics around climate change and how to introduce students to using Reflect in Microsoft Teams for Education to assess their emotions, you’ll have everything you need to help students consider how they can take care of themselves and the planet.
This lesson also includes a fun video clip and discussion questions to inspire students to take a moment to share gratitude with each other.
Microsoft is your environmental partner on Earth Day. Make your classroom a change agent by exploring all that Minecraft Education, Flip and Reflect have to offer your students.