Role playing a city's response to climate change: Engaging undergraduate geoscience students

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Abstract

A clear understanding of climate change and its impacts on society is an integral component of scientific literacy today. However, college students in introductory and lower division science courses often struggle to connect with this material in a meaningful way when they do not see how it is relevant to their daily lives. To address this challenge, we have developed a role-playing game in which students act out a fictitious meeting of the Seattle City Council in which they select an action plan in response to impending sea-level rise. They are given roles and form factions to develop proposals, lobbying for either climate change prevention, mitigation, or adaptation. Students focus on using scientific literature and evidence to support their arguments and work as teams to get their action plans approved by the city council. The game takes approximately two class periods, during which the teams research and prepare action plans, the council hears proposals and questions the lobbying citizens, and an action plan is selected. Quantitative and qualitative data from introductory Earth and atmospheric science courses demonstrate improved learning outcomes for game-relevant course content and student perceptions of increased learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geoscience Education
Volume66
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Climate
  • Gamebased learning
  • Role playing
  • Sea-level rise

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