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FAA Promotes Aviation Careers with Video Game

Airport Design Challenge-Minecraft with Purpose

In an unconventional bid to promote awareness of aviation careers among America’s youth, the Federal Aviation Administration is turning to a video game the agency has dubbed the Airport Design Challenge (ADC).

Kevin Klein, CEO of Traverse City, Michigan’s Cherry Capital Airport (TVC), somewhat cryptically stated: "So this is a way for the FAA that's been engaging with our youth, using a program, Minecraft, that a lot of our youth has utilized for other activities, to start looking at airport design."

The Airport Design Challenge is designed for and open to students in grades K-through-12. In addition to exposing participants to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) precepts through the lens of the Minecraft platform, the initiative seeks to promote critical thinking and teamwork.

Students engaged in the Airport Design Challenge are afforded opportunity to design virtual airports in Minecraft. The layout, architecture, engineering, and operation of subject airports will be based on guidance provided by FAA aerospace and engineering experts. Participating students will meet aviation professionals, engage with other players/designers, and learn about the aerospace industry. The challenge offers participants first-hand experience in an aviation-related application of STEM concepts and helps students apply their academic knowledge and skills to professional simulations.

While participants are encouraged to form teams of up to five members, they may also engage in the program individually. Instructional modules cover topics such as airport layout, runway and taxiway surfacing and lighting, airport structures, and facility innovation and growth. Module knowledge check assignments and screenshots of students’ designs are used by proctors to assess participants’ progress and provide feedback germane to such.

Collaborative work between students, parents, and teachers performed in the virtual environment is encouraged.

The Airport Design Challenge is an interactive learning and collaboration opportunity developed in cooperation with and sponsored by the FAA Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Aviation and Space Education (STEM AVSED) Program.

Parties interested in learning more about the FAA’s Airport Design Challenge or enrolling therein are invited to follow the FMI link at this article’s conclusion.

FMI: www.faa.gov/airport-design-challenge


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