FAA Virtual Airport Design Challenge Takes Off

Friday, October 23, 2020

Calling all K-12 students interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM): The 2020 Federal Aviation Administration STEM Aviation and Space Education Airport Design Challenge is now open for enrollment through Oct. 25, 2020.

Participating students are provided with opportunities to meet aviation professionals and learn about the aerospace industry. For middle- and high-school students, this is a chance to get first-hand experience in an aviation-related application of STEM concepts and careers.

The Airport Design Challenge involves students using Microsoft Minecraft to design virtual airports based on guidance from FAA aerospace and engineering experts.

Students will collaborate in small teams to learn about their local airports and to complete developmental tasks in Minecraft. During the five weeks of organized lesson plans, participants will cover topics ranging from airport layout, pavement and lighting to structures and innovative growth. Program facilitators will use weekly knowledge-check quizzes and screen shots of students’ designs to assess progress and provide feedback.

Collaborative work between students, parents and facilitators will focus on applying STEM-based knowledge in math, engineering and career development. While participants are encouraged to form teams of up to five members, they may also participate individually. 

The virtual event is open to students in the U.S. and internationally. Last year, approximately 800 students participated and many more are expected this year.

The FAA Airport Design Challenge website has more information about the competition and how to register.