Leicester In Minecraft! Young People Design New Buildings for their City

James (age 8, Dovelands Primary) Glass pyramid indoor park

James (age 8, Dovelands Primary School) Glass pyramid indoor park

To coincide with our Leicester in Minecraft event, and to celebrate the building work Leicester City Council is carrying out across the city, we invited children and young people between the ages of 6-16 who live or attend school in Leicester to create a building in Minecraft that would make Leicester even better. Entries came flooding in, amazing us with the creativity, ingenuity and thoughtfulness they demonstrated.

A huge thank you to every one who took the time to enter!

The judging panel

The panel looked at the creativity and imagination demonstrated by the entries, as well as technical skill and ability, and the building’s potential to make Leicester even better. The standard of entries was excellent – making the judging an extremely tough job.

Highly commended

James, from Woodland Primary (age 8),  Rufus Avenue Primary School (aged 8) and Abdulrahman, from Kestrels Field Primary School (aged 11) were all highly commended by the judging panel for their amazing creations.

James - glass pyramid indoor park (interior)

James (aged 8, Dovelands Primary School) glass pyramid indoor park (interior)

James writes:

I have chosen to create a massive glass indoor park, made from different coloured glass. There are pools on each side of the pyramid and underneath the floor is a large but shallow pool of water.  My pyramid has two open doorways on each side of the pools so that people can walk in and out easily.  Inside is an open space for anyone to enjoy, there are benches to sit on and sculptures to look at as well as the colourful view of the city. I chose to make this building because it is a very colourful sight and it is free for everyone to use!  It is a very different type of building for Leicester.

Rufus - Treehouse Library

Rufus (age 8, Avenue Primary School) Treehouse tree library

Rufus 2 Tree Library

Rufus (age 8, Avenue Primary School) Treehouse tree library (from below)

Rufus writes:

I have chosen to build a tree library.  It is basically a tree house with a library that has books about trees. I chose this building so children could learn more about trees.  There are lots of trees and parks in Leicester so it would be nice to have somewhere to learn about them.  I thought it would be exciting to make it in a tree house because it’s a library about trees.

Abdulrahman (aged 11, Kestrels Field Primary School) Hotel LOL

Abdulrahman (aged 11, Kestrels Field Primary School) Hotel LOL

Abdulrahman’s entry was Hotel LOL, an “extremely big and luxurious” hotel for homeless people, made with sand, brown wool, glass and oakwood.


The three winners selected by the judges are Sean from Montrose Primary School (aged 11), Oliver from St Cuthbert’s Primary School (aged 11), and Gurinder from Soar Valley Community College (aged 12).

Sean (aged 11, Montrose Primary School) Three in One Building

Sean (aged 11, Montrose Primary School) Three in One Building

Sean (aged 11, Montrose Primary School) Three in One Building - sweet shop and Korean barbeque seating

Sean (aged 11, Montrose Primary School) Three in One Building – sweet shop and Korean barbecue seating

Sean’s entry particularly impressed the judges with the level of detail and design of both exterior and interior design. The building provides sweets, comics, and Korean barbecue. Sean explained that families don’t all like the same thing, so his building provides something for everyone:

“I chose the look of the building to be different from others since it has a balcony on the second floor and it has windows on the roof. Also it has a water fountain at the front, which is a nice view. I chose this building because it is different, it has something for everyone.”



Oliver (aged 10, St Cuthbert’s Primary School) Under- and Overground Roller Coaster

Oliver 4

Oliver (aged 10, St Cuthbert’s Primary School) Under- and Overground Roller Coaster – birds-eye view

Oliver (aged 10, St Cuthberts Primary School) Under and Overground Roller Coaster - lava section

Oliver (aged 10, St Cuthbert’s Primary School) Under- and Overground Roller Coaster – lava section

Oliver’s entry was an dramatic under- and overground roller coaster – something currently missing from Leicester. The ride features scenic views of trees, vines, as well as having water and lava features. Oliver writes:

I chose to build a roller coaster for my Minecraft project. I thought about building a tall tower for Leicester so we have a famous land mark but then I wanted to have a bit of fun so I wanted to build something else and a roller coaster came into my head.  It has multiple vertical drops.

I’ve lived in Leicester for all my life. There are a lot of good things in Leicester but there are a few things missing, like some famous land marks. I thought about building a religious as we have lots of unique religions. I then thought about building a tall building like the Empire State building, but then I realised the main thing we were missing was a roller coaster.  I really love roller coasters, but there are no roller coasters in Leicester.

Gurinder (aged 12, Soar Valley Community College)  FUN HUB - crazy golf

Gurinder (aged 12, Soar Valley Community College) FUN HUB – crazy golf

Gurinder’s building was the FUN HUB, a multi-purpose activity centre with floors providing an ice skating rink (with “classes and fun disco nights”) and indoor crazy golf.  Gurinder writes:

This building is the FUN HUB. It is a multi purpose building with lots of fun things to do on every floor. There is a café and ice rink, crazy golf, restaurants with flavours from around the world, a library, terrace area. On the terrace you can sit to relax with a book, or go to the stargazing area in the evenings to look at stars with a cup of hot chocolate from the bar. The FUN HUB would be a cool place to go with friends and family, and I would want to take my relatives that visit Leicester to see the building. There are conference rooms and halls that have different workshops going on like cooking or baking classes, dance and beatboxing workshops and arts and crafts days.

More amazing entries

Eden 1

Eden (aged 10, Buswells Lodge Primary School) Leicester Sky Scraper

Eden’s sky scraper included a basement for “relaxing and looking at art or old items or fossils”, as well as a party room, and “awesome views of the city”.

Issac 1 - KR3 Hotel

Isaac (aged 8, Christ the King Catholic Primary School) King Richard III Hotel

Isaac writes:

I have chosen to create a hotel called ‘The King Richard the Third’ hotel. It has many floors which are all made out of different materials. There is a pub on the side with a swimming pool on the top and a number of rooms have balconies where people can sit outside. Each bedroom has a library and all are child friendly family size rooms. There is also a helicopter pad on the top in case any celebrities want to come and stay here.

Alijawad (aged 12, Soar Valley College) People's Art Gallery

Alijawad (aged 12, Soar Valley College) People’s Art Gallery

 Alijawad created a People’s Art Gallery:

You can give in your art so you won’t just look at art you can also give it in if you would like. This will encourage others to embrace their creativity and imagination.


Jill (aged 6, Dovelands Primary School) Leicester Airport - runway and the control tower

Jill (aged 6, Dovelands Primary School) Leicester Airport – runway and the control tower

Jill (aged 6, Dovelands Primary School) Leicester Airport - passengers boarding plane

Jill (aged 6, Dovelands Primary School) Leicester Airport – passengers boarding plane

Jill designed an airport for Leicester, with direct routes to Singapore.

Stan (aged 15, Beauchamp College) Learning Centre

Stan (aged 15, Beauchamp College) Learning Centre

Stan (aged 15, Beauchamp College) Learning Centre

Stan (aged 15, Beauchamp College) Learning Centre – entrance

Stan writes:

I have created a learning centre with many functions such as computer training, engineering and inventing. I have attempted to create a calming environment to learn in using balconies and plant life. It is elevated on a wall and I mainly used dark oak wood, spruce wood and cobblestone for the exterior with lots of flowers.

The entrance “includes hanging chandeliers and an underfloor area with shrubbery and a tree which protrudes up to the staircase.”

Thomas (age 11, Leysland High School) Underground School

Thomas (age 11, Leysland High School) Underground School


Thomas (age 11, Leysland High School) Underground School - utilities supply

Thomas (age 11, Leysland High School) Underground School – utilities supply

Thomas’s underground school design made use of solar panels and took into account environmental issues.



Leicester in Minecraft! Competition & Event

Leicester in Minecraft

Leicester City Council’s BSF Programme is transforming the city! We are rebuilding and refurbishing 23 city schools, and working with our school communities to build better futures for all of our young people.

Leicester City Council’s ICT BSF team are taking time out to celebrate the building programme, and in partnership with De Montfort Video Gaming Society, Interact Labs, Phoenix and The Spark Arts for Children we’re organising a free to attend day of Minecraft and digital arts fun. We’re also running an exciting competition for children and young people aged from 6 to 16 years old to show off their Minecraft design and build skills, by creating an exciting new building for Leicester.

Leicester in Minecraft Competition – closes Sunday 25th May 2014

The competition is run in partnership between Leicester City Council’s BSF Programme and the Phoenix.

The competition is open to children and young people 6-16 years old, who live or go to school in Leicester city. We want children and young people to create a brand new building for Leicester in Minecraft, and send us screenshots of their building, along with a short explanation of why their building will make Leicester an even better city to live in.

Entries need to be made on the official entry form, which can be downloaded here as a word document: Leicester in Minecraft competition entry form

Please get in touch if you need the form in an alternative format!

Minecraft Event at the Phoenix – Saturday 31st May 2014, 11am-4pm

UPDATE: all tickets were snapped up within 48 hours! We will provide competition winners with tickets so that they can attend, if they don’t already have tickets. There is also a wait list available for notification in case any tickets are returned.

Building on the success of last year’s Minecraft Meetup event, which was attended by over 180 people, the LCC BSF Team, in partnership with De Montfort Video Gaming SocietyInteract LabsPhoenix and The Spark Arts for Children, are organising a free to attend day of Minecraft and digital arts fun.

Our keynote speaker will be Adam Clarke, a games based learning expert with a special focus on Minecraft in education, heritage and social settings.  Adam will be talking about how Minecraft can be used to expand horizons and unlock opportunities. As well as talks, activities, games and interactive art, we will be announcing the winners of our Leicester in Minecraft competition.

The event is open to people of all ages – young people under 18 must be supervised by a parent or carer.

This event was hugely popular last year – so if you’d like to come, sign up as soon as possible! Click through to the Eventbrite page for activities and timings, and to get your free ticket!

Minecraft in Leicester Schedule: 

11am – 12:30

Keynote & Competition Winners

Screen 2 Minecraft: expanding horizons –   unlocking innovation
Our speaker Adam Clarke has a national and international reputation within games based learning and Minecraft in education, heritage and social settings. Adam was recently shortlisted for the Tate Britain I K award for digital artwork for Tatecraft. He will be talking about how Minecraft can be used as a creative and educational platform.
We’ll also be announcing the winners of theLeicester in Minecraft building competition. We are asking young people across the city to share their vision for buildings that would make Leicester even better. 

1 – 1.40pm

Minecraft Intro


Midland, Morledge and Burton Rooms

Are you new to Minecraft? Come and have a look around, and build! This is a drop in session for those who’d like to explore and find out more.

1.40pm – 2.30pm


Midland, Morledge and Burton Rooms


Minecraft Forum

 Are you passionate about Minecraft and wish there were more opportunities to meet other Minecrafters, or use Minecraft in your school? Come along to this forum to share your ideas and what you like about the game. All welcome, but especially children, young people, their parents/carers and teachers.


1 – 3pm

Tech Demos

Midland, Morledge and Burton Rooms

Minecraft maps! Adam Clarke will demo a range of exciting maps using both PC Minecraft maps and Minecraft Pocket edition maps.

Interact Labs will be demoing 3D printing – and making Minecraft minifigs. Come and find out how tiny Raspberry Pi computers can be used to connect Minecraft to the physical world.

1 – 4pm

Arts & Crafts

Midland, Morledge and Burton Rooms

Paint a 3D printed Steve! Minecraft arts and paper craft.

2:30 – 3:45pm

P2P Competition

Midland, Morledge and Burton Rooms

P2P competition – may the best Minecrafter win! Sign up on the day for your hunger games style melee slot. 


Minecraft Meetup – report & resources

Kicking off the Minecraft Meetup

Leicester City Council's BSF ICT strand is all about using technology to support learning, teaching, community development, and (very importantly) about having fun. So it was no surprise that the whole team were enthusiastic about supporting the ClubClub Minecraft Meetup event at LCB Depot, which took place on Saturday 18th May.

Around 180 people of all ages decended on LCB Depot for the Meetup, which included talks, activities, and competitions. We've rounded up all of the resources from the day in one handy place!

Check out photos from the event here!


Introducing Minecraft

Minecraft Papercraft

Minecraft Raspberry Pi

Minecraft Creative Competition

Minecraft Eyetracker

Minecraft PvP Competition

Minecraft Edu

Leicester Lo-fi

Thanks to everyone who made the day happen!


Introducing Minecraft

Joseph and Luke introduce Minecraft

Joseph Ishmael (16) and Luke Shortland (15) kicked off the day with an introduction to Minecraft.



Hi, we are Joseph and Luke.

We are very happy to be opening today's Minecraft event with a short talk to introduce Minecraft. We know there are a lot of people here today who know the game and play it a lot, but many of the parents here today will have no idea what Minecraft might be. So this talk is especially for you.

Minecraft is a creative game created by a Swedish programmer called Markus Persson “Notch”(as many people know him). The game was developed and published by Mojang in May 2009. The game is unique because it is mainly based on blocks and being creative.

Minecraft is available for different platforms. Personal computer (PC) was the original platform, the game runs on multiple operating systems including Windows, Mac OS X (for Apple computers) and Linux. Minecraft – Pocket Edition was released for Android phones in October 2011, and for iOS (Apple phones and iPad) in November 2011. This is a cut down version of the game that focuses on building and survival basics. Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition was released in May 2012. Minecraft: Pi Edition for the Raspberry Pi, allows players to use code to make things happen in the game world. it was officially released in February 2013. At the end of 2012 sales were at about 20 million across all platforms, with sales roughly even across PC, Xbox and mobile versions.

People of all ages all over the world play Minecraft –it is now even being used by teachers and educators to support learning.

The purpose of the game is to build and be creative at the same time, although you don’t have to do this you could simply spend your time fishing, hunting or mining and many other different things. You need to download the game onto your PC, or a version to play on your Xbox or mobile phone. We recommend the computer version – the updates are faster and there are more items and more ways to have fun.

You need to create an account – try and think of something you can remember and using a strong password is important. Try and think of a creative name that doesn’t need numbers if you can. Before you get started look at the controls – on the home screen, click on ‘options’ and then ‘controls’. You can familiarise yourself with the controls, or customise them if you like. If you forget you can take a look while you are playing. The default controls will be familiar to anyone who regularly plays games.

To get started, select ‘single player’ from the main menu. Then select create new world. It’s best to get start with ‘creative mode’ – you can select this on the single player menu. Then select ‘create new world’. You character will spawn (appear in the world) in a random location in the Minecraft world. You might see forests, deserts, plains, swamp land, jungle, or ice plains – there are many type of landscape. The game defaults to first person point of view (POV) so it will look like you are seeing out of your own eyes in the game.

In creative mode you can run, walk, fly and swim (technically jumping in the water) and explore your environment. Creative basically lets you be creative, you can get whatever you want and then just build very easily, this can also be very fun because you can spawn all the mobs in the game and fight them at your will. When you have finished looking around, press the ‘e’ button to bring up an available items menu. This includes all the blocks you need to build and survive, and also blocks with a range of different qualities. Put blocks into your inventory to use them. You can place them in the world by right clicking. In creative mode you can get whatever you want and then just build very easily, this can also be a lot of fun.

Blocks are what the Minecraft world are made of. There are many types of blocks – some blocks are only used for building (houses, shelters, walls), others have particular qualities. Soul sand blocks for example will slow you down if you try to walk across them. Other blocks, like glowstone, will light up the area they are in. In creative mode, you don’t have to make items or blocks – you just select them by clicking the e button.

In survival mode you have to work harder. Some blocks can be combined with other blocks to make items. Some blocks can be used to make components that can be used to make other items. Some blocks can be obtained by breaking them with your fist, however some harder materials such as diamond will require you to make a iron pickaxe to obtain them, to make one mine iron and coal, mix them in a furnace and then make an iron pickaxe to mine the diamonds.

Also experiment with blocks – for example putting a redstone torch (an inventory item you make from other items) near TNT will cause an explosion, which will destroy most blocks in the area. You really need to find out for yourself how to make items from blocks, but you can ask people who play the game. Learning how to make new blocks and blow things up is part of the fun.

A day and night cycle in Minecraft is 24 minutes – each minute represents one hour. Going into sleep mode will speed up the night time.

Mobs are living creatures in the game – for example chickens, creepers, squids, and witches. They spawn in random locations – unless you turn the game mode to peaceful, they will just turn up. Some of these are friendly, and some are hostile. Hostile mobs – including creepers, zombies, skeletons and enderman tend to spawn at night time. In creative mode mobs cannot hurt you, although they may attack you.

As well as creative mode, there is Survival mode. clearly from the name, you basically have to survive without being given anything to start with. This mode is here for playing the game in a challenging way. In survival mode you are encouraged to make a house and to find resources that will help you defend your self or you will die. You also must find a sustainable way of getting food so you don’t starve.

Hostile mobs will harm you in survival mode – some will hit you, fire missiles such as arrows or poison potions, some will even explode next to you. You start with 10 hearts – hearts represent how healthy you are – and being hit will deplete your hearts. You can increase your health by taking health potion. If you lose all your health your character will die – you will respawn in another random location, with full health but all of the items you were carrying in your inventory will remain in the place you died and you can only recover them by collecting them from there. Which is a big pain.

You can play in creative or survival mode as a single player, or when you are more confident, you can play in multiplayer mode. This means you play alongside other people who are online as well. In multiplayer you can fight against others, or work with them to build.

We play on an online server called citywars We have built a city, and we run it with other players who are city leaders. Everyone has jobs and roles in the city, for example, miners, police officers, hunters, priests. People trade, get taxed, create laws, develop their characters. You can build your own home in a city, and develop your skills, and attack other cities.

Any Questions?

A lively round of questions followed the talk, including debates on the best elements and the worst Mob. There were convincing arguments made from the floor for creepers and witches as the most dangerous foe, but the casting vote from the floor went to 'parents who make you get off the computer'.


Minecraft Papercraft

Minecraft chess set

As well as computer based activities, we had a papercraft room for people to cut and paste together their own Minecraft mini figures – including this amazing Minecraft chess set!

You can print your own Steves, creepers, and squids here:

The Ultimate Guide to Minecraft Papercraft! from Instructables

Minecraft Papercraft Chess from Pixel Paper Craft

The Standardized Papercraft from Minecraft Forums

For more activity ideas, check out this Minecraft Birthday Party post from Cupcake Stand, or search Pinterest for 'Minecraft Birthday Party'.


Minecraft Raspberry Pi



Artist/Researcher Sean Clark brought along a Raspberry Pi computer to demo Minecraft: Pi Edition, and also presented his Etch-a-Pi project – a Raspberry Pi controlled Etch-a-Sketch. If you are currently using Raspberry Pi computers or interested in finding out more, why not join the Leicester Raspberry Pi Users Group?

Find out how to use Minecraft Pi – check out this tutorial on getting started from Martin O'Hanlon.


Minecraft Creative Competition

build competition

Minecraft is a fantastic environment to create in. Our first competition of the day provided an opportunity for attendees to show off their creative skills. 50 young people created structures in only 15 minutes in Minecraft – including a reproduction of the Colosseum! Joseph, Luke and Johnny (all of who spend far too much time building in Minecraft) judged the competition, awarding points for imagination, skill, and build aesthetics.



First place went to Marcus Tilley (15), with runners up awards being made to Bluebell (5) and Ben Robin (7 and a half). Congratulations to the winners!


Minecraft Eyetracker

Dr. Stephen Vickers, research fellow at De Montfort University's Center for Computational Intelligence demonstrated eyetracker software for Minecraft. The MeyeNCRAFT project was developed for players with disabilities which prevent them from being able to use a mouse or keyboard, and lets users explore Minecraft or other games using only eye movements. Meetup visitors were able to have a go at playing Minecraft with their eyes!


Minecraft PvP Competition

PvP competition P1120198b


"Who's still alive?"

40 contestants battled Hunger Games style in our Player vs. Player melee. Players spawn without any equipment, and must find supplies, weapons and armour to enable them to be the last player standing. Luke Pillai (12) won the title of event PvP Champion.


Minecraft Edu

Secondary school teacher Stephen Elford (EduElfie) Skyped in to the event from Australia to talk about how he uses Minecraft in his classroom. You can check out EduElfie’s MinecraftEDU Youtube channel for video tutorials.

MinecraftEdu is a great resource for teachers and schools looking to make use of the power of Minecraft in the classroom, and offers discounted MinecraftEdu licences for educational use. You can find information, tutorials and resources over at the MinecraftEdu wiki.

Bond University used Minecraft as a teaching environment following floods – their campus was closed so they decamped to an online classroom.


Leicester Lo-fi

Leicester Lo-fi brought their Origami Pinhole Kits along to the event, so attendees could make their own low tech cameras, take photos and develop them.


Huge thanks to everyone who made the day happen!


As well as being a lot of fun, there was a huge amount of hard work and planning that went into the day.

First and foremost we want to thank all of the young people who came along. Everyone was brilliant, and the event wouldn't have run as smoothly as it did without all of the peer support that went on – young people helping out other young people.

Chris Slowe is Project Coordinator at LCB Depot and runs Club Club. The hugely successful Minecraft Meetup was Club Club's inaugural event – you can find out more about Club Club over at their Facebook page.

Joseph, Luke and Johnny wrote and gave the introductory talk, judged the build competition and helped other young people out all day. They also helped us carry the computers!

The Leicester City Council Building Schools for the Future ICT Team (Lucy Atkins, David Beere, and me, Josie Fraser) all helped out. We provided the papercraft, organised and set up the computers, ran the competitions and roped other people in 🙂

Dr Stephen Vickers organised and did more than there is space to list! Special thanks for making sure there was a Minecraft environment to run the competitions in, for demoing the MeyeNCRAFT project, and for organising the MinecraftEdu talk.

Capita Managed IT Solutions helped with the loan of computers (essential!) which were kindly loaned to the event by Rushey Mead School.

David Croft, from the DMU Gaming Society: Demon Gamers helped out tremendously, especially with the PvP competition.

Steve Lynch and David Wilson Clarke from the Leicester Lo-fi Photography group  ran the pinhole camera workshop.

Sean Clark from Leicester Raspberry Pi Users Group who brought the Pi.

Plus thanks to Steph Knowles, artist and workshop leader, who managed the papercraft room and Khush Nubian, artist, who helped out with registration.


Cross-posted from LCC's SchoolTech blog.