Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Game-Based Learning Resources and Practices to Engage Students in Environmental Science

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Wednesday, June 26, 11:00 am–1:00 pm
Location: Posters: Level 4, Terrace Ballroom Lobby, Table 41

Jane Ji  
Get an introduction to interactive teaching tools that spark students’ interest in environmental science and stewardship. Learn about educational games specifically built for the subjects, and share various practices to use them in science class or STEM/STEAM/makerspace projects.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Principals/head teachers, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: iOS
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Game-based learning and gamification
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Manage the use of technology and student learning strategies in digital platforms, virtual environments, hands-on makerspaces or in the field.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this poster session is to demonstrate how teachers and students can easily use game-based approach to learn about biodiversity and understand the environmental challenges that we face. Can digital games help kids understand the science behind the conversation and other environmental issues? Game-based learning has the potential to engage students in environmental stewardship. In this session, we will showcase interactive teaching tools specifically built on this subject, share our experience of conducting workshops in various schools during the Science Literacy Week 2018 in Canada, and best practice from other teachers who use educational games for biology and ecology. During our workshops, students were introduced to various marine species, food webs, and environmental challenges through a series of videos, quizzes, and interactive games. Teachers who are comfortable with game-based learning use lesson plans or class activities to spark students’ interest in the environmental science.

The introduction of interactive games in the classroom does not mean the end of books and other traditional teaching materials. Blended learning will not necessarily replace the lecture. Games, however, can supplement time-tested pedagogical practices with new technological solutions to long-term problems. We can have the best of both - the new and the old.

Participants can try on several web-based games and iPad apps built on simulation of ecosystems and related environmental science subjects. These games use digital storytelling and simulation to engage kids in biology and ecology.

iBiome-Wetland and iBiome-Ocean
Introduce kids to diverse and intricate ecosystems and allows them to explore how nature works by looking at the interactions between different species in various food webs. These games use virtual simulations to test student’s understanding of trophic levels, energy distribution, and balance in any ecosystem.

WaterLife-Quest to Nest
Sea Turtles and the Quest to Nest helps students address the most important issues facing loggerhead sea turtles.

WaterLife - Where Rivers Meet the Sea
Where Rivers Meet the Sea takes place in a west coast estuary and follows a human as she encounters Oscar the sea otter.

Recycle City
Visit Recycle City! There's lots to do here - people and places to visit and plenty of ways to explore how the city's residents recycle, reduce, and reuse waste.

Coral Bleaching
Learn about coral bleaching, and see what happens to the coral reef depending on the various conditions you choose!

Participants will be able to:

- Have a hands on experience using the games iBiome-Wetland and iBiome-Ocean - multi-award winning learning games (by Springbay Studio), WaterLife-Quest to Nest, WaterLife-Where Rivers Meet the Sea (by NOAA), Recycle City (by EPA) Coral Bleaching (by NASA)
- Learn to use and integrate games as an effective classroom tool for engaging students in environmental science
- Understand how game-based lessons increase student engagement in the class
- Explore lesson plans associated with all those games and how they align with NGSS and common core science curriculum
- See how teachers assess learning results through quizzes
- Learn about the success stories of hosting interactive school science workshops

We have introduced game-based learning during a series of workshops in September 2018, and it was extremely successful amongst students and teachers. Here’s the feedback we received:

“I enjoyed this workshop because it teaches people about marine life in an interesting way” – Grade 6, David Leeder Middle School

“I liked most about it is how you have entertainment, but at the same time education.” – Grade 6 Student, David Leeder Middle School

“It shows how much of an impact garbage does to the ocean” – Grade 5 Student, Ferndale Public School

“I really enjoyed it because it was a fun learning experience and I now think differently on reusable water bottles”- Grade 6 students, Lockview Public School

“It was a great workshop. My grade 3 students enjoyed the iBiome-ocean game and they are really engaged. “ Renee T. Science Teacher from Edith Cavell Public School

“Great idea to have a video to engage the students and explain why we need to learn about oceans and protect them. Interactive content is great.” Kevin D. Science Teacher from Port Weller Public School


- Introduction to Game-based learning and its inclusion in our workshops
- Overview of workshop details and feedback
- Introduction of various learning games and class activities as tools for learning and teaching
- Hands-on activities - try out these games
- Sharing of lesson plans which are aligned with NGSS and Common Core Science Standards
- Questions and Discussion

Participants will receive resources including lesson plans, workshop design, and other game resources to help educators get started with game-based learning in their classrooms. All the games are intended to increase student knowledge of habitats, ecosystems, food webs and food chains, biodiversity, environmental challenges and conservation.

Supporting research

Supporting research
• “MindShift’s Guide to Digital Games + Learning” By Jordan Shapiro, Et al.
• “Game based learning” by Rebecca Teed, SERC, Carleton College
• “Digital Pedagogy - A Guide for Librarians, Faculty, and Students”, University of Toronto Libraries,
• “Game Based Learning: What it is and why it’s changing the way we teach our kids skills for the future work-a-day world”, by Gavin Cahill
• Gros, B. (2007). Digital games in education: The design of games-based learning environments. Journal of research on technology in education, 40(1), 23-38.
• “The potential of games-based environments for learning”, by Matthew Cunnane.
• Teach, May/June 2017, The Birds and the Bees-Preventing Local Extinction

More [+]


Jane Ji, Springbay Studio Ltd.

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