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Interactive game teaching climate science targets younger audiences

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-11-15 07:12

Interactive game teaching climate science targets younger audiences

Kids in Mianyang, Sichuan, in costumes of wastes and paper they made together with parents, play games in an environmental protection promotional event. [Photo by Chen Dongdong/For China Daily]

Australian researchers have developed an interactive game to teach children about climate science. The team from Australian National University created CO2peration to teach children aged between 12 and 14 about the impact of climate change.

Inez Harker-Schuch, the project leader, says most Australians were not taught about climate science until they reached the age of 16, which is too late.

She says that 12 was the perfect age because of developmental change that typically occurs at that age.

"They start to look at executive functions and complex problems in different ways," Harker-Schuch tells the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"This is what we call abstract reasoning. It happens around the age of 11 for girls and 12 for boys."

The game requires players to undertake fact-finding missions in order to collect data and samples to figure out why Earth is so waterrich.

Harker-Schuch's team focused on removing "noise and emotional messes" to focus the player's attention on the core issue.

"I'm not interested in changing their opinion or giving them an opinion - I'm just interested in teaching the science," she says.

"Often in school, you'll have teachers who will give instruction in climate change and they might discuss things that are frightening."

Players are given the opportunity to explore every planet in the solar system and look closely at molecules.

"We need to use visualization to teach climate science," Harker-Schuch says.

"Kids are on their devices so much of the time, so we wanted to take those devices and make them useful."

The game is being tested in schools in Australia and Europe with a full public release expected in May 2018.


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