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FAA Launches Student Design Challenge

The Federal Aviation Administration’s has launched its second Airport Design Challenge as part of its ongoing efforts to engage with students about careers in aviation.

The challenge helps students design virtual airports using the Microsoft game Minecraft. Students grades K-12, both in the United States and elsewhere, are eligible to participate. The students, many of whom are studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), will meet aviation professionals and learn about the aerospace industry and STEM concepts and careers.

“We need to continue to reach out to youth in their areas of interest,” said Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen. “The Airport Design Challenges does this by combining gaming and aviation to develop our leaders of tomorrow.”

During the competition, students collaborate in small teams – ranging from one to five individuals –  to learn about their local airports and to complete developmental tasks in Minecraft. They participate in organized lesson plans covering topics ranging from airport layout, pavement and lighting to structures and innovative growth. Program facilitators, including over 150 FAA employees, will use weekly knowledge-check quizzes and screenshots of students’ designs to assess progress and provide feedback.

Last year, approximately 3,000 students took part in the challenge. The FAA Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Aviation and Space Education  Program organizes and sponsors the challenge.