Christchurch pupils design new Parliament building

A passion for the video game Minecraft has been the key to academic success for a group of Christchurch school pupils.

Finn Butchers, Will MacIntyre, Liam Homan and Daniel Drury finished second at a national competition in which pupils were challenged to design a new Parliament building in a medium of their own choosing.

Kirkwood Intermediate School duo Finn and Will were tied for second place alongside Liam and Daniel in the year 6-8 category.

They were among 42 teams to enter the Technology Education New Zealand competition.

Liam Homan, Daniel Drury, Will MacIntyre and Finn Butchers put their Minecraft skills to good use...
Liam Homan, Daniel Drury, Will MacIntyre and Finn Butchers put their Minecraft skills to good use in a national design competition. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Finn said he and his schoolmates were able to put their skills in the building-themed game to good use, using it to design their 3D model.

“I’ve been playing Minecraft for about five years,” Finn said.

They scrapped their first design to make their entry more eco-friendly, a decision which paid off.

“It was probably halfway through and we just decided to go again.”

The boys were pleased but extremely surprised to have done so well and planned to continue studying technology in future.

“We’re obviously not bad at it,” Finn said.

The Technology Education New Zealand competition asked participants to design a new parliament...
The Technology Education New Zealand competition asked participants to design a new parliament building. The boys’ used skills gleaned from playing Minecraft to create their 3D model. Image: Supplied
Technology teacher Julie Andrews said she could see the boys as engineers already.

It was the first year digital technology had been included in the school’s technology curriculum and it was exciting to have pupils doing well in the subject, she said.

TENZ resource, professional learning and promotion portfolio-holder Sarah Washbrooke said she chose this year’s theme after noticing a news article in which Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard spoke about changes to parliament buildings.

“I jumped on that brief and that’s what we did.”

The Queenstown teacher won the Prime Minister’s 2020 Science Teacher Prize in part due to her efforts promoting the technology curriculum nationally.

The competition was now in its second year.

Image: Supplied
Image: Supplied
Competitors were told their designs should be a three-storey building, complementing the existing executive wing and with a link to Parliament House.

A green star sustainability rating of six was also a requirement.

Washbrooke said she sent the designs to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Mallard last week and hoped they would be shared with members of parliament.

“Hopefully they’re going to be looking over them . . . hopefully they’ll give us some feedback.”

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