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ERIC Number: EJ1082016
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
ISSN: EISSN-1306 3065
Losing the Lake: Simulations to Promote Gains in Student Knowledge and Interest about Climate Change
Nussbaum, E. Michael; Owens, Marissa C.; Sinatra, Gale M.; Rehmat, Abeera P.; Cordova, Jacqueline R.; Ahmad, Sajjad; Harris, Fred C., Jr.; Dascalu, Sergiu M.
International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, v10 n6 p789-811 2015
Climate change literacy plays a key role in promoting sound political decisions and promoting sustainable consumption patterns. Based on evidence suggesting that student understanding and interest in climate change is best accomplished through studying local effects, we developed a simulation/game exploring the impact of climate change on the declining water levels in Lake Mead. Because there are few evaluations of educational games using true control groups, this study also presents a randomized field trial evaluating the game. We randomly assigned 119 seventh graders to either a game-based condition or control condition. Students in the experimental group played Losing the Lake; those in the control group viewed an earth science website. Students also completed pretest, posttest, and delayed posttest measures of their content understanding and interest in issues embodied in the game. We found that playing the game resulted in a significant increase in content knowledge, as measured by a 22-item assessment, especially on items related to household conservation and some basic concepts related to the greenhouse effect. The control group showed no effect. Playing the game also resulted in some increase in student interest. The Losing the Lake game illustrates how use of a water theme can be used to make climate change content more meaningful and relevant to students. Furthermore, the study shows, through a randomized control trial, that educational games can result in conceptual development, specifically on water flow (i.e., where drinking water comes from and where it goes once used), water conservation, and the difference between weather and climate. The Losing the Lake game can therefore be useful educationally in various locales as a case study in the nature of drought, climate change effects, and water conservation practices.
International Consortium for the Advancement of Academic Publication. Abant Izzet Baysal University, Faculty of Education, 14280 Golkoy-Bolu, Turkey. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Grade 7; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Nevada
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: EPS0814372|CMMI0846952