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National Highways create gaming platform to teach the next generation

On September 6 2021, the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet project by National Highways – formerly Highways England - launched a new video game to “inspire the next generation of talented tech experts, engineers, scientists and mathematicians”. 

The platform, based on Minecraft, aims to help young people experience the role of road designers. It will allow users to experience making decisions and considerations for planning schemes such as the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet improvements and the A303 past Stonehenge – all of which are features in the game. 

The platform, made up of five games and a creative mode, also covers the skills needed to build mass road projects, from archaeology, to biology and ecology, to civil engineering, communications technology and coding. The platform also hosts lesson plans teachers can use for students aged 7-11 (key stage 2) and 11-14 (key stage 3).

The five games are:

  • Lower Thames Crossing – Tunnel Digging
  • Lower Thames Crossing – Signs game
  • A428 Black to Caxton Gibbet improvements – Natural Habitats game
  • A303 Stonehenge – Across the Ages
  • A303 Stonehenge – Biodiversity game

National Highways Talent Delivery Lead Natalie Jones said, “We want to inspire the next generation of talented engineers and scientists, on whom the country’s infrastructure and national economy will one day depend.

“Our ambition is to seek out the next James Dyson or Dame Sarah Gilbert and help put them on the path to a fascinating life and career.

“With the help of Minecraft and the in-game activities, students will get first-hand experience of what would go into building a huge bridge or digging a giant tunnel. In real life these are multi-million-pound structures that are carefully designed and then built by experts.

“These skills and expertise help to create the motorways and main roads that keep us all moving, whether going to work, delivering goods or keeping families and friends connected.”

Co-Director at BlockBuilders Youth Engagement Megan Leckie said, “Creative platforms such as these open up a whole new world of learning for young people, where they can be directly engaged with their local environment and find out more about engineering.”

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