CO2peration: the 3-D Climate Change Video Game


controllerResearchers at the Australian National University have been building CO2peration, a 3-D video game that can help effectively middle school students learn about climate change.

Typically, students are not taught about the effects and damages of climate change until they reach high school, but Inez Harker-Schuchm, PhD candidate and leader of this University research team, believes that by the time students are in high school, it is too late to educate them on the subject effectively. She says that middle school is the best age to learn this information, because they are at a perfect age to absorb and remember the information they are taught.

“They’re a unique age group because they’ve just begun to go through the second critical phase of intellectual development,” says Harker-Schuchm. “So they’re starting to process very complex things, and they haven’t yet formed their world views.”

The game itself lets players leave Earth to travel the solar system, learning what makes Earth different from these other planets, and why our planet has water while other planets do not. By learning about the delicate conditions that allow Earth to have water, players can begin to understand why it is so important that we protect it. The initial object of the game is to make sure that every player walks away more informed about climate change and why it is so essential to study.

“We’re not interested in changing their opinion, or giving them an opinion in the first place”, says Harker-Schuchm about the game. “I’m only interested in teaching them about the science.”

The framework for CO2peration is built from over a decade of research on teaching climate science as a part of programs in Vienna, Copenhagen, and Canberra. Researchers have studied the most effective way to deliver climate change information, and which age group to be delivered to in order to ensure that the information is best absorbed.

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