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Climate Change, Design Thinking


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Computer Science


70 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New Jersey


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Gaming and Climate Change

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Apr 19, 2024
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In this lesson, students explore the role of video games in bringing awareness to climate change and evaluate or design a climate change video game.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students discuss the role of video games in education and behavior modification, sharing their personal experiences and thoughts.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students read an article on how the gaming industry is addressing its environmental impact and answer discussion questions.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students choose to evaluate the effectiveness of climate change games or design their own climate change video game.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson can be used in computer science and environmental science classes.

  • Students are given voice and choice in this lesson.

  • Students connect to an activity many already engage in to rediscover new purposes.

  • Teachers have several differentiated options depending on skill, interest, and experience.

  • The Investigate and Inspire sections can be done on subsequent days.

  • This lesson can be self-directed or teacher-guided and can be drawn out or built upon as the starting point of a larger unit on game design or elements of computer-based game design.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have a basic understanding of climate change and its different effects.

  • Students should have an awareness of basic game design categories.

  • Teachers should be clear on which computer programs and platforms the school has access to for coding and game design.


  • Depending on various coding or computer skill levels, teachers can adjust for different degrees of difficulty and ability. For an introduction class or for students who have little experience with computers or coding, the Inspire activity can be completed and mapped out on paper.

  • Teachers can adjust the Inspire section to target specific computer science or coding skills or to focus on aspects such as design, music, visuals, decisions, and rewards.

  • Students can work independently or in small groups with varied purposes. For example, the whole class can design a game and together come up with the goal and purpose. Smaller groups can be formed to design different elements of the game.

  • Teachers can decide to offer one or both options in the Inspire section. Teachers can also choose to focus only on evaluating current climate change video or mobile games, dividing the class into groups where each group evaluates 2-3 existing games.

  • Students can use different programs or learning platforms depending on what different schools have.

  • Students can present their findings or games to different audiences.

Scientist Notes

This lesson challenges students to think about how video games can be utilized to teach others about climate change. Students walk through this lesson by first critically thinking about what makes video games fun and entertaining, followed by reading an article and discussion centered around how gaming can educate people on climate change, and finally options at the end to create their own game about climate change. The lesson includes an op-ed article written by an author who writes about many things including sustainability. This is a great lesson for teaching alternative methods to educating the public about climate change.


This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

Primary Standards

  • Computer Science & Design Thinking
    • Computer Science
      • 8.1.12.DA.1: Create interactive data visualizations using software tools to help others better understand real world phenomena, including climate change.
    • Design Thinking
      • 8.2.12.ED.3: Evaluate several models of the same type of product and make recommendations for a new design based on a cost benefit analysis.
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