Online games train students on environmental issues
With younger people spending many hours playing games, one federal department is using them as a tool. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Ocean Service has created instructional online games to teach students about the environment.
Where Rivers Meet the Sea leads students through a series of scenarios and experiences to help them understand basic estuarine ecology, threats to estuaries, and actions students can take to become environmental stewards. It follows a human, Valerie, as she encounters Oscar the sea otter and the Claminator -- a geoduck clam. The friends are challenged to learn about the factors that produce healthy estuaries, food webs, and why estuaries are essential to ocean life and to humans.
Sea Turtles and the Quest to Nest uses interactive techniques to teach students how to help protect loggerhead sea turtles and their habitat.
"Both games are set up as scenarios in which students are introduced to characters or stakeholders. In the case of the estuaries game, it's characters; in the turtles game it's stakeholders," said Peg Steffen, education coordinator for the NOS. "The students go through a process of solving challenges. . . . They learn a little about career opportunities that might exist in both those realms. . . . It's a way in a fairly engaging manner to provide scientific information to students and it gives them more of an active role."
July 11, 2011
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