Image source: https://www.glasslabgames.org/games/SC
Name of the videogame/app
SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!
Name of the producer
How to find it
Main technical requirements
MacOS, Web browser
Native Virtual Reality Support
6-11 years, 12-17 years
Degree of required tutoring
Autonomous use after teacher introduction/explanation
Environment, city planning/management
The game can be played for free after creating a GlassLab Games account.
It is a city management simulation game that addresses environmental issues. It includes four missions that explore the effect of pollution, population, power, commercial and industrial centers and other environmental issues on cities.
This game puts students in the "Mayor's seat" to drive change and solve problems in a town related to the environment and citizen needs. Students are "in charge" of their town and try their ideas about solving "real world" problems. Therefore, students face increasingly difficult tasks that require them to balance population, employment, industry, and power generation. The interface displays the overall pollution level, population happiness level, electricity coverage, and business traffic, helping players make decisions and plan their cities.
Mission leaderboards and rankings encourage students to constantly improve their city designs, replaying the short missions. Each mission is timed which could be frustrating for students. Moreover students need to explore the game environment and familiarise through trial and error.
Learning Object / Suggested activities with students
The game includes lessons plans that help teachers guide students through each mission. Teachers should start a class by explaining the environmental challenge to students and then students proceed to play the game. Students could play in groups of two and collaborate to solve their mission successfully.
Adding SimCityEdu in a Literature or Science class, for example, could be an opportunity for students to not only read about current environmental issues, but also grapple with real-world problems and work together for solutions.
It woud be a good idea to put students work in pairs, so they can bounce ideas back and forth to each other.
Before using SimCityEdu with students, teachers should play the game first in order to familiarise with the missions and how to use the game in class. Students also need to be taught the basics regarding navigation, how to work with missions, and how to work together in a team.
Skills and competences acquired
Students can practice problem-solving, systems thinking and managing informational diagrams. They can also see how different aspects of city planning work with or against each other.
The provided lesson plans include assessment tools and offer monitoring of student progress. Students could extend learning via self-reflective writing activities that analyze how they solved problems during play.
Critical thinking, Problem solving, Creativity, Time management, Team working