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Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Games
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Lesson Plans
  • Presentation Slides
  • Worksheets
  • Videos

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Colorado


Google Docs, Google Slides, PDF

HEART Force Drought Game

Ask a Question

  • In this game, students will learn about the causes of droughts, their effects on communities, and adaptation and mitigation strategies.
  • Students play the role of community members and work with their teams to invest in different resilience strategies to prepare for and respond to a drought.
  • The resource provides a brief video explanation of the game, a teacher guide, teacher slides, and PDFs of all game materials, including a game board, role cards, nametags, spinners, and reservoir markers.
Teaching Tips


  • Students will love the teamwork and practicing their communication, reasoning, and negotiation skills.
  • The Teacher Guide is detailed and even includes a teacher script. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • This game is part of a larger HEART Force curriculum. The resource recommends that classes use this after completing the Colorado Drought Lesson for middle or high school, which is linked at the top of the resource.
  • Students can play the game in one 40-60 minute class period.
  • Teachers must print, cut, and assemble materials, including water reservoir level markers, role cards, role nametags, and spinners.
  • Each student group will need a graduated cylinder and a pipette.
  • The resource is designed specifically for Colorado, but teachers can modify it to focus on other areas that experience drought by changing the trivia questions and adjusting the community roles if necessary.
  • The link for the HEART Force Community Resilience Expo Curriculum is broken. It can be found here.


  • Teachers should group students into three teams. Large teams encourage more cooperation and compromise.
  • Math classes can use this game to practice decision-making using probability and statistics.
  • Science classes can focus more on the causes and effects of droughts and the possible mitigation and adaptation strategies.
  • The Teacher Guide includes a list of closing reflection questions that teachers can use for individual written reflection, as a think-pair-share, or as a class discussion.
Scientist Notes

This resource is an interactive game, suitable for students to learn about drought and how they could respond to extreme drought conditions in their local community. The resource has already been reviewed by CLEAN scientists and having met our science review, we recommend it for teaching.


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

  • Mathematics
    • Statistics & Probability (6-8)
      • 7.SP.C.5 Understand that the probability of a chance event is a number between 0 and 1 that expresses the likelihood of the event occurring. Larger numbers indicate greater likelihood. A probability near 0 indicates an unlikely event, a probability around 1/2 indicates an event that is neither unlikely nor likely, and a probability near 1 indicates a likely event.
    • Statistics & Probability: Using Probability to Make Decisions (9-12)
      • HSS.MD.B.7 Analyze decisions and strategies using probability concepts (e.g., product testing, medical testing, pulling a hockey goalie at the end of a game).
  • Social Studies
    • U.S. History: America in the World - Geography, People, and the Environment
      • 6.1.12.GeoHE.14.a: Evaluate the impact of individual, business, and government decisions and actions on the environment and climate change and assess the efficacy of government policies and agencies in New Jersey and the United States in addressing these decisions.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-2. Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
      • HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
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