Earth System Eco-games and virtual choice boards include: Planet Earth, Carbon Cycle, Energy, and The Rock Cycle. At the bottom of this page, there is a brief description about how to include mapping and sense-of-place to augment Eco-Games in your educational setting. Click on this link for a free download on Teachers Pay Teachers. Eco-Games: Outdoor Simulations for Life and Earth Science.
The Planet Earth Game and virtual choice board
In the Planet Earth Game, students will see that Earth has an incredible diversity of plant and animal life. This life depends on the elements, without which any one life could not exist. This is the systems view of life. The tragedy today is that the human animal is altering the natural environment to such an extent that there is a mass extinction of plants and animals. We are altering the planet’s climate by burning a finite supply of fossil fuels which took millions of years to form. When students begin to realize the massive environmental problems on our planet, they can feel overwhelmed. These big feelings of anxiety come from the deep understanding of knowing one’s connection to the planet and caring deeply about life on Earth. Many students will feel compelled to act to bring about positive changes for the environment. Eco-inquiry’s mission is to help educators support students in this process of becoming aware and taking action. The Planet Earth virtual choice board showcases youth centred environmental organizations. Acting collectively can help people to feel empowered to influence and create real change.
Click on the Planet Earth choice board below to see how. Make a Copy and you can edit it to suit your work with your students. Thank you.
Below are images of The Planet Earth Eco-Game signs and play card. What is the SECRET ENVIRONMENTAL MESSAGE of the Planet Earth Game? Click on this link for a free download on Teachers Pay Teachers. Eco-Games: Outdoor Simulations for Life and Earth Science.
Here are book suggestions to celebrate Earth Day and to help our planet every day!
The Carbon Cycle Eco-Game and virtual choice board
Carbon is one of the main components of all living things and the carbon cycle is key to sustaining life on Earth. Carbon is found in major sinks, such as in the atmosphere, in biological mass, on land and in the ocean. Carbon sinks include sediments, such as fossil fuels, which take millions of years to form from decaying organic matter. This is why fossil fuels are considered a non-renewable resource. When carbon is connected to two oxygen molecules it makes up carbon dioxide, which produces the essential greenhouse effect in our atmosphere by essentially trapping the sun’s warmth. However, people burning fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution, which began a very short time ago around 1850, has caused the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere to increase dramatically by about forty per cent globally. This is exacerbating the greenhouse effect and causing the Earth to warm at an alarming rate. It is also altering climate patterns around the world and disturbing essential ecological systems and ocean chemistry.
People can experience eco-anxiety over the magnitude of problems related to loss of biodiversity and habitats, and the impacts of global warming. Educators can encourage their students and each other to channel these difficult emotions in eco-action – which supports our well-being and helps the planet! Youth are leading the climate action movement around the world to demand that governments, industries, corporations, countries and people take action to lower greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global warming and environmental destruction. For more information about alternate energy sources, go to The Energy Game on this website.
In the Carbon Cycle Eco-Game, students are introduced to the major carbon sinks on the planet, and the greenhouse effect increasing global warming from human activity caused by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere via the combustion of fossil fuels. On the virtual choice board below, students can click on the keys to unlock strategies for taking climate action.
Click on the image below to get started. Make a Copy and you can edit it to suit your work with your students. Thank you.
Climate change is related to carbon dioxide emissions, which is why the images on the Carbon Cycle Eco-game cards are weather symbols. Which weather phenomena do they represent? Find out the secret environmental message of the Carbon Cycle Eco-Game by cracking the code! For complete instructions, get Eco-Games for FREE: Teachers Pay Teachers Eco-Games
Here are some book suggestions for a wide range to help students of all ages learn more about global warming, climate action and justice.
The Energy Eco-Game and virtual choice board
Human consumption of energy and how to solve the problems that correlate are very complicated. In the Energy Game, students will investigate different sources of energy. From the resources on the Energy virtual choice board, students will learn about energy sources and the complex interactions of their usage. They will decide for themselves what the positive and negative effects of these different sources of energy are on our planet. The first modern oil well was drilled in 1859. That’s less than 200 years ago. Since that time, greenhouse gases have led to unprecedented climate change. Though electrical energy may seem better at first glance, it requires transformation from other sources of energy such as nuclear or hydroelectric, which also have negative impacts on the natural environment. Emerging technologies have created advances in solar, wind and tidal energy. The Energy Game has a rating scale for different sources of energy. However, students can decide for themselves what the rating scale can or should be based on a deeper level of eco-inquiry. Finally, students will discover actions they can take to conserve energy, reduce pollution and be involved in the youth lead climate action movement.
Click on the Energy Choice Board for it to open in a Google Slide. You can Make A Copy and edit it to suit your teaching and learning environment.
What is the secret message for The Energy Game? Crack the Code and find out!
For complete instructions, get Eco-Games for FREE: Teachers Pay Teachers Eco-Games
Here are some picture books to support The Energy Game, and also to go deeper into understanding energy sources, the connections to climate change and energy conservation.
The Rock Cycle Eco-Game and virtual choice board
In the Rock Cycle Game and virtual choice board, students will discover the fun of being a geologist and paleontologist. Although the rock cycle is a continuous process, rocks and minerals are formed over millions of years. Therefore, they are considered to be a non-renewable resource, including fossil fuels. Resource extraction removes them from the earth where it took specific conditions and an incredibly long time to create them. Geological time puts into perspective our use of fossil fuels and the cause of radical climate change now. They will learn about the soil cycle as well as the importance of soil conservation. Students will discover actions they can do to live more sustainably, slow down climate change and conserve our Earth’s resources. Click on the Rock Cycle choice board below to Make a Copy and edit to suit your educational purposes.
Here are examples of The Rock Cycle game signs and game cards. What is the secret message of the Rock Cycle game? Crack the code and find out! For a FREE download of this, go to Eco-Games on Teachers Pay Teachers by clicking here: Eco-Games download.
Here are some books to support learning about the rock cycle, soil and climate action.
Mapping and Sense-of-Place
Add mapping skills to Eco-Games in your schoolyard to develop spatial awareness and sense of place. Here are the instructions:
Download all of the Eco-Game signs and cards for FREE here: Eco-Games Download.
Place game signs throughout your school yard. To develop a greater sense of place, assign students the task of naming parts of the schoolyard as well as elements like trees, sandpits, particular places they find special. Ensure that all place names are friendly for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. This is an important talk to have with your students. Do research on previous names for where your school is located, particularly Indigenous Treaties. Create a meaningful Land Acknowledgement that recognizes and shows respect for the First Nations, Metis and Inuit.
In this photo below, see how you can stick the game sign to a tree. I just use removable duct tape, which sticks even in the rain! My students call our home base for outdoor learning, Old Man Tree. The name has stuck for years of classes!
I also go onto Google Earth to get an accurate visual of my schoolyard. Tape white bristol board to the screen or wall and project the image of the schoolyard map onto it at just the right scale for your size of paper. Trace your school and schoolyard elements. Here is an example of a schoolyard map with game signs numbered on the map. Enrich Eco-Games by integrating orienteering and map skills! You could also have the students create their own maps for measurement: distance, area, perimeter, scale. This is a rich math and geography task.
One of my favourite “sense of place” maps to inspire students of all ages:
Map making, sense-of-place and place names are loaded with history and identity for people, especially Indigenous People in North America. With a history of colonialism that changed traditional Indigenous place names, it is vital to have these deep discussions with children. Many place names in North America are going back to their original Indigenous name. Ensure that your place names are respectful, especially for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. Here are some books to get these discussions started for deeper inquiry into land, maps and place names. There is a lot of equity and inclusivity work to do in this area of study, literature and representation!