Using Games for Climate Education
As a part of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Climate Education and Literacy Initiative (Highlight 21), Federal and non-governmental experts are collaborating to harness the promise of educational games and interactive media to enhance understanding and awareness of climate-change impacts and solutions. Games are increasingly used in educational settings to help inspire curiosity, creativity, collaboration, optimism, and problem-solving skills among a wide variety of audiences. Games address real-world challenges, compress time and space, encourage systems thinking, and promote active engagement, making them particularly well-suited to climate-change education.
Two “game jams” in the past year have helped to connect American students and citizens with the best-available science-based information about climate change. In October 2015, the Climate Game Jam—held simultaneously at 11 sites across the United States—resulted in 30 new game prototypes that allow players of all ages to learn about climate change and resilience through analog and digital games. In April 2016, the Climate Game Jam Water invited teams of students in grades K-16 at nine sites to modify existing games and create new games that explored topics such as changing precipitation patterns, freshwater supply, ocean acidification, polar issues, water use, and marine and freshwater ecosystems. Selected winners from both game jams were invited to showcase their creations during special events at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.