Versions Compared


  • This line was added.
  • This line was removed.
  • Formatting was changed.


Computing has been a foundational tool in the development of scientific understanding of current and future impacts of climate change, the most important socio-scientific issue facing society today (IPCC, 2013; Field et al. , 2012). Science practices, such as modeling and abstraction, are critical to understanding complex systems dynamics integral to understanding climate science, and are critical components of science literacy, featuring prominently in the new Next Generation Science Standards (Achieve, 2013). Game design can be particularly effective in teaching about systems thinking (Salen, 2007; Liu & Hmelo-Silver, 2009; Puttick et al., 2014, GlassLab, 2014), since game design is a species of model building, one of the central scientific practices advocated by the NGSS (Achieve, 2013). However, much is still to be learned about game design as a way to engage young people in learning science or math, and, rarer still, in model building (e.g., Reppening et al., 2010; Tucker-Raymond et al., 2012).. Given the demonstrated affordances of game design in supporting computational thinking, many aspects of which are akin to systems thinking, we implemented a free four-day intensive game design and climate change workshop for middle school girls that focused on game design to teach about climate change. In the workshop, five girls used the object-oriented programming environment, Scratch, to create games based on a systems perspective on climate change. Findings are organized into three broader categories: a) analogies to science content in the game; b) game design experience; and c) evidence of systems thinking, including socio-ecological connections.

Download paper here.

This is a working paper. Please do not cite with out permission from the authors.