NASEF Farmcraft™ Competition Blends Creativity of Minecraft with Challenges of Modern Agriculture and Farming

(Atlanta, GA – February 4, 2021) – The U.S. Department of State and the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) are introducing an exciting Minecraft competition, NASEF Farmcraft™. This free science-based esports competition challenges participants in grades 3-12 to solve agricultural biotechnology tasks in a fun virtual environment while improving STEM and computer skills. The competition runs February 17, 2021 - May 19, 2021 (registration opens in early February with pre-season events; the regular season events in the modded Farmcraft world begin March 31, 2021). 

As part of public diplomacy programming in cooperation with U.S. Embassies and Consulates, schools around the world are invited to create teams and join this exciting online event examining the role of innovative technologies in sustainably feeding a growing world. In this international online tournament, students will attempt to create agricultural systems that mimic real-world production, trade, and environmental conditions. Teams will compete against each other in a variety of biomes presented in the custom world of NASEF Farmcraft™. They’ll learn from scientists in the virtual lab about how to leverage available technology and tools as they encounter issues like pests and drought. Winners will be selected based on quantifiable metrics (yield, environmental effects) within the competition biomes.

Erik Leitner is a District STEM and Computer Science Instructional Facilitator for Broward County Public Schools working with NASEF to build the challenges. He said, “Students love building in Minecraft, and this interactive project-based learning (PBL) opportunity will help them grasp the realities of modern agriculture as they play and create with their teams. In addition to Minecraft challenges, students will increase their understanding of farming approaches and technologies through live online events with agriculture and technology professionals.” 

NASEF will also incorporate its Beyond the Game challenges to provide pathways for learning outside the game environment. Five of these challenges will be offered, helping students build a deeper understanding of skills such as understanding food resources, nutrition planning, and educating the public about important issues. 

Another fun way for students to learn about agriculture and technology will be a series of “Food for Thought” livestreams. Agriculture experts, scientists, and Minecraft developers are among the guests that will share information about their field and answer questions from attendees. 

Requirements: Participation in this program is free! Participants need an internet connection and CPU access (computer, tablet, smartphone). The event will be held in Minecraft Education Edition, which will be provided free to teams as needed. Teams with 2-4 members, plus an adult sponsor, are recommended. English required; fluency not necessary. There is no geographic restriction; continents represented so far include Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. 

NASEF will equip educators to implement this engaging PBL program, as well as support integrating the challenges into existing lesson plans. NASEF Farmcraft™ is presented through a collaboration with NASEF, the U.S. Department of State, and American Spaces. Visit NASEF.org/farmcraft for information and to sign up. 

About NASEF

The North America Scholastic Esports Federation is on a mission to provide opportunities for ALL students to use esports as a platform to acquire essential  STEM-based workforce skills, as well as critical communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in work and in life. In 2021, the new World Wide Scholastic Esports Foundation, a nonprofit organization, was established to sustain NASEF moving forward from its incubator status within the Samueli Foundation. Find NASEF on Twitch, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

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Media Contacts:

Claire LaBeaux claire@nasef.org       Nina Murray murrayn@state.gov