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Using En-Roads with 10-15 year olds

Has anyone worked with a younger audience using En-Roads?  We have had a request by our town to do a workshop for 10-15 year olds and I am not sure how to proceed.  My concerns are that folks that young may not have the base knowledge to fully participate/appreciate the workshop.  I also wonder about the interface being visually overwhelming and kids in that age range not having sufficient attention span.  

Thanks in advance for any input!

Hi Laura,
what a great opportunity!
I faciliated World Climate Simulations with C-ROADS and then used En-ROADS for the debrief for 10th graders (Germany). They were 16 years old and understood very well and fast.
My experience was that they were highly interested and engaged to test policies and actions to bring the temperature down. All of them had some ideas of what to do (more wind mills, more trees, less meat consumtion, less coal, less nuclear, etc.). It was great! And, you might not even need to go deeper in the model structure for 10-15 years old students. The analysis is powerful enough, showing the graphs.
In my examples, the group was so relieved that they stood up from their chairs, applauding and screaming "yes!!!!!".
So, it was a very powerful experience! You should do it (you might want to test it with a few 10-15 year olds (for you to build confidence)). And then enjoy the building of hope!


Running it for kids is great!

One principle we have at Climate Interactive is "show don't tell".  Broadly this means using the En-ROADS simulator to highlight insights instead of using PPT or lecture.

With kids this is even more important. I recommend keeping the pace up and the lecture down.  Get to the roleplaying if you're doing the Climate Action Simulation (as opposed to the Workshop).  And, I would recommend doing the roleplay, since playing roles is more fun for kids.

I wouldn't worry too much about background knowledge.  We've found the experiences work well for people with different levels of background knowledge.  Maybe make some direct connection for them, like the mild winter or some local environmental issue, and then get them into their roles.

And, because the level of expertise in the group might be low (though you would be surprised with youth these days!), be prepared to hit the big important points: the system has delays (building infrastructure takes time, carbon emissions stay in for 100+ years), therefore need for urgency, no silver bullet but silver buckshot, etc.  (See the Webinar video of major points, below.)  

“Simulator Dynamics – Part 1”

“Simulator Dynamics – Part 2”

As with any group, be sure to open it up the debrief with the question, "How do you feel? Mad? Sad? Hopeful? Enthusiastic?"  Literally this question. Spend 10 minutes on this topic, and be okay with some silence after you ask the question - it might take a minute before the first hand is raised. It will be important to listen to kids feelings and get a sense of how they were affected. This also will get them start talking to each other about the issues.

And, end on a message of hope. Talk about what can be done today, what is happening today (e.g., trends in cheaper renewables), and if there is anything they can do locally. One example from my community would be to work with Mother's Out Front to help reduce nature gas leaking pipes. Another would be to work with the city/town to improve their climate plans.

Hi Laura,

I have run the game for high school students aged 14 to 18. They seem to become more engaged and serious than they would in a lecture, because they were performing negotiations and pledges in front of their peers. This turned out to be especially true when I organized students from multiple schools together for the same event. The teams were mixed with students from different schools.
The interactivity of the En-ROADS model with immediate feedback on the temperature change output graph made it easy for students to follow along... at least with the higher mission, even if the details themselves could be tricky. We had many teachers walking around acting as mentors. The teachers had reviewed the game format and briefing sheets in advance, in order to be able to help during the event. 

I have not had experience with middle school level students age starting from age 10. I suspect the high level framework of the model would make sense, although they may need more help understanding some of the individual solutions/ sliders.

To help students understand the Carbon Price, I did a little demonstration using the students and fake money. I asked one student to pretend to be a Renewable energy company and the other to be a fossil fuel company. I gave them each say $1,000 fake money to start with. I said what if the renewable energy company produced 0 emissions and the fossil company produced 10 tons? If the carbon price was $50/ ton, how much do I collect from each company? I asked each person to pay me their carbon price fee. The renewable company kept their money, and the fossil company pays me $500 out of their money. Then I asked, so what does this Price on carbon emissions do? (let students answer) It made it more costly for polluters to stay in business, therefore it discourages them to keep polluting, while making renewables more attractive.

I think these types of little demonstrations or showing slides with photo examples for some of the more complex solutions can help students visualize or understand what they are. 

As long as students are fully aware that their primary objective is to enact solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thus lower temperature rise, they are on track to gain the main lessons from the En-ROADS model. They will also understand the primary lessons that there is no silver bullet, and how it might be possible to meet our climate goals. 

Hope this helps.

3 people like this

I love the fake money game!  Perfect!

1 person likes this

Hi Laura,

thanks for asking!

I have done many simulations with secondary school students about 14-15 years of age since 2013.  We only encountered some difficulties in getting kids from public schools to participate. 

In general results were very good. I posted many pictures and videos in the Facebook World Climate closed group. Last year we did 12 workshops in 5 different schools. 

Here is a link to some videos of kids playing C ROADS / World Climate in secondary schools. 

Secondary school World Climate simulation videos 

The kids in the videos speak Spanish, but you can see from the body language that they enjoyed the experience and that they understood the learning goals very well!!!

In my experience, kids are very curious, and enjoy playing games, so the best way to engage them with EN ROADS is the Climate Action Simulation game!!! Typically you will get them presenting in just 15 minutes from the start of the workshop. They do the workshops as well as university students, typically 2 or 3 rounds in three hours including the debriefing.

Kids will understand most of what is being said.

I hope it helps,



Hi Laura,

here is a google photos album with the pictures and videos that I took from our 2019 October 10th Climate Action Simulation game that we did from secondary school students from Colegio Inmaculada.

See how they participate and enjoy the game.

This was our first EN ROADS game with secondary school students, they run as well as the C ROADS simulations.

I hope it helps,


Sorry, here is the link to the Climate Action Simulation images!!!

Climate Action Simulation in a Secondary school

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