Earth Day is celebrated around the world on April 22, and it’s a perfect time to raise our kids’ environmental awareness IQ. After all, the kids of today will inherit the Earth of tomorrow and it’s important to start their “eco-education” early. An extremely effective way to engage kids in the topic, beyond textbooks and discussions, is through interactive games and programming projects.
Have students try our Litter Bug Game that tests their knowledge about recycling, composting and trash as they determine what item goes where. By playing the game, students learn about where our waste goes and in the process, the game becomes a fun, teachable moment. For example, you can:
- Discuss why pizza belongs in the trash, but banana peels go into the compost bin.
- Ask your students to add more challenging items to the game (it will require them to do a bit of research!) to dispose of in the recycling, compost or trash.
- Encourage students to complete the Litter Bug game using the Template version of the project and add new items to the game.
Take the discussion a step further and ask students to create games of their own to show what they’ve learned, or have them teach (and test!) somebody else. With a few introductory Tynker lessons students can apply their coding skills to create their own projects and games. Here are a few examples where you can take existing Tynker projects, save them to your account to remix and assign to your students (for free!).
- Create an animated “e-postcard” to send to family and friends about their favorite environmental awareness fact – recycling, energy conservation, water, alternative fuels, renewable resources and more. Students can use the code in this history project as a starting point (or you can modify the code and create a new tutorial for your students with our free Tutorial Designer).
- Create a game where a player zaps pieces of garbage as they fall from the sky. Students can use the code from our holiday game as a starting point (you can modify the tutorial to guide them create their Earth Day game).
- Create a simple scavenger hunt to reveal an endangered species. You and your students can use our Valentine’s Day Game and tutorial as a starting point.
- Create an Earth Day quiz. For fact ideas, (here’s an example of an Energy IQ quiz). To create their quiz in Tynker, you and your students can use our Grammar Owl game and tutorial as a starting point.
If you have a paid Tynker Teacher account with access to our new STEM library, students can use any of the Life Cycle projects as a starting point for creating their own Earth Day themed simulations.
Inspire students by reminding them that games that teach and promote positive change in the world are created all the time, like the “Reach for the Sun” sim game that teaches students what plants need to survive (recognized as having the best gameplay by the “Games for Change” festival). With games, kids can learn, create and share in a hands-on environment that allows them to use their imaginations while enjoying the process. They can use their games to teach others about the ideas they have learned, which is one of the most effective ways to understand and reinforce a concept.
At the end of the day, the important thing to remember is that all kids can make their mark, and any effort, large or small, makes a big difference. And who knows – maybe these creative kids will grow up to be the inventors of tomorrow who create games that do, in fact, change the world.
Looking for more? Try our 2016 Earth Day coding challenge where you make a game about planting trees!