Recently we had the pleasure of meeting the Project Sustain team from Tesla STEM High School, and they’re now attending our regular EarthGames UW meetings. They have developed a fantastic game that is very much consistent with the mission of EarthGames. It’s described in the following guest blog post from Caeli MacLennan. We’re excited to welcome Project Sustain to the EarthGames family – you should definitely check out their game!

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Project Sustain began with a few ambitious students from the Tesla STEM High School who joined together to tackle the barrier between children and climate change education. Traditional educational methods, such as textbooks, fail to take advantage of the fact that kids retain the most information at an early age where most are unable read. Project Sustain is designed to utilize that early period: games provide the perfect medium for the young learner because they are interactive, fun, and easy to understand. With a different, immersive method of education, not only do we teach young people the science and impacts of climate change but also to problem-solve and independently seek answers outside of the classroom.

So how exactly does the curriculum work? Geared towards the Next Generation Science Standards, our curriculum is divided into two main components: an interactive city-management computer game for elementary school students, and a political-based card game for middle schoolers. In both, students are immersed into governing a simulation city or country and are given the opportunity to fully examine different types of energy production, transportation, and the effects of pollution on the happiness and economic security of their citizens. Early testing revealed that both games are capable of teaching students up to 40% of the existing Washington State curriculum for their grade level in a single day. Also, the visual learning each game presented allowed kids in the first grade to understand middle school concepts. Our games and the data we collected won our team third place at the WSU Imagine Tomorrow competition in which over 140 teams had entered.

This year, we have expanded our project to be implemented over a month-long period into 16 different classrooms, allowing over 320 students easy access to our curriculum within their school day. Our curriculum is easily obtainable and costs only a laptop and the electricity to power it, or for the card game, simply paper! Currently, we are working to expand the game even further to cover additional topics, such as agricultural management, different biomes, and aquaponics.

Project Sustain continues to expand across the district: with our educational games, we can change behavior in both our local community and across the state to significantly lower their negative environmental impacts. The children of today are the decision-makers of the future, and our goal is to ensure that they have the education and the motivation to reverse the effects of climate change and create a sustainable society.

To download the latest version of our games, view our curriculum, and see pictures of our project in action, visit http://www.projectsustainblog.blogspot.com

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