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Teachers can use Enercities as a poignant introduction to renewable resources, and to drive home the need to figure out alternatives to fossil fuels. It should work great as a discussion starter, or as a lead-in to research or building projects where students have to think through and/or create models for sustainability in their communities. Kids could also think large scale, and build models of future cities that make better use of resources. It's probably best played individually, and teachers may want to pause play and address questions for the edification of the whole class as they arise. Take note that the Enercities website also has decent lesson plans that might provide inspiration.Continue reading Show less
Enercities is a more stripped down SimCity style game where students take charge of planning a sustainable, 200 person community of the future. Students build a city, placing power grids, housing developments, industrial zones, and parks. Since it's focused on sustainable development and communities, students need to strike a balance between economy, ecology, population growth, and quality of life by building the right stuff, and making good use of upgrades. Upgrades provide perks that improve energy efficiency, lower carbon footprints, etc.
By responsibly managing a growing community, kids learn about resource scarcity, the environmental impact of development, and sustainable building practices, all of which are critical to understanding the modern world. Kids also practice valuable skills like time, resource, and money management, and see how each of these skills and all of the covered issues are caught in an interconnected web. Kids will gain fresh perspective on the costs of fossil fuels and the need for clean energy, as they struggle to curb carbon footprint and deal with population growth.
Key Standards Supported
Earth and Human Activity
Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.
Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.