Olympia School District teacher Heath Bingman presents economic interests in EarthGen’s mock climate summit.
While youth climate leaders often make the news, many young people believe climate change is too big a problem for them to solve. But young people are natural changemakers, and engaging them in civics and climate action can be as easy as playing a game.
EarthGen’s new professional development series, “School Community Action,” launched with an interactive online exercise that lets teachers and students take part in a simulated conference like COP26, the United Nations climate summit recently held in Denmark. The training was built around the Climate Action Simulation game(https://www.climateinteractive.org/tools/climate-action-simulation/), a sophisticated online tool developed by En-ROADS. A University of Massachusetts study showed that playing the game improves participants’ climate knowledge, boosts engagement with climate issues, and helps participants feel empowered to address climate change.
Sponsored by ESD 113 and facilitated by EarthGen, this first workshop allowed teachers around the state to roleplay UN climate summit stakeholders in-game. EarthGen developed asynchronous learning materials to enhance the gaming experience and help teachers use the game in their classrooms. Focusing on international policy processes, the game is just one tool that teachers will gain through the “School Community Action” workshops.
Subsequent sessions will prepare teachers to approach climate action with their students at the regional and local levels. At each level, a different strategy will be used, from advocacy to infrastructure. Equipped with this wide array of resources, teachers will complete Community Action Plans. Whether they use the online game or other tools, each teacher’s action plan will fit their own students’ interests. By meeting them where they are, teachers can help every student get involved in making local change.
See EarthGen’s website for information on other professional development opportunities.