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World Climate Simulation

Climate Change Negotiations Game

Secondary

Description

Students step into the role of delegates to a world climate summit and negotiate an international climate agreement designed to achieve the 2 degree warming threshold (as agreed to in Paris at COP21). In addition to gaining an understanding of counter intuitive dynamics of carbon and the carbon system (ie. the bathtub analogy) students will learn about the real international efforts to limit global warming and experience personally, the social, political, economic and environmental challenges in addressing our world climate crisis.

Preparation:

Students are divided into 3 to 6 groups- enough to represent the different developing and developed regions of the world. Using briefing notes provided with the resource as well as information gained from its own research, each group determines their negotiation position and prepares an opening statement for round one of the summit.

Playing the Game:

In each round of negotiations, a group representative lays out its proposal for achieving the 2 degree reduction target. Based on background information provided by the resource and the group's own analysis, the proposal must include the year emissions will stop growing, the year emissions will begin to decline and the annual rate of decline.

Following the presentations, this information is entered into a computer program (provided) that will analyze the effect of their climate actions and determine whether the groups are on track to meet the '2 degree' goal.

Using the computer program's analysis the groups debrief the climate outcomes resulting from their proposed actions. If the 2 degree reduction target has not been met, negotiations among the groups will continue following the same procedure in a second round.

The Final Debrief:

At the conclusion of a 3rd round (if necessary), students reflect on outcomes of the negotiations and discuss what they have learned.

They are asked to ‘step out’ of their group role and view the climate challenge from a personal perspective. The goals here are to find common ground, determine what personal action can be undertaken and consider next steps.

While students should have a basic understanding of climate change prior to participating in the simulation, all materials needed for students and teachers to successfully conduct the negotiations are provided by the resource.

 

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • communication skills
  • building consensus
  • using computer models

Strengths

The resource offers students a very accurate understanding  of what takes place during the world climate negotiations (COP)  and the challenges involved in reaching agreements.

All of the materials required to successfully conduct the simulation are included.

Systems thinking is promoted. The environmental, economic, political and social dimensions involved in mitigating climate change are effectively illustrated.

The simulation provides for strong interdisciplinary learning.

The resource is up to date and includes a wealth of background information and support for both student and teacher.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

In addition to supporting those curriculum outcomes identified in this review, the simulation would serve as an interdisciplinary unit to introduce during the next COP conference and/or as a  centerpiece activity during Earth Day, World Environment Day or Earth Hour events.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
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    • Grade 11
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        • Social Studies 20-1:Perspectives on Nationalism : Internationalism & Global Affairs
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        • Social Studies 20-4:Nationalism in Canada & the World- Internationalism
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        • International Politics 30
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        • Physical Geography 12: Interactions between human activities and the atmosphere affect local and global weather and climate
        • Political Studies: Decision making in a democratic system of government is influenced by the distribution of political and social power.
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        • Physical Geography 110: The Atmosphere
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        • Introduction to Environmental Science 120: Investigating Environmental Issues
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        • Global Politics 12: International Relations
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        • Science (Academic):Earth and Space Science: Climate Change
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        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Scientific Solutions to Contemporary Environmental Challenges
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        • Geography of Canada 421A: Canada’s Global Connections
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        • Environmental Science 621A: Environmental Challenges and Successes
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    • Grade 11
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 11:Humans can play a role in stewardship and restoration of ecosystems
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science for Citizenship 11: Scientific understanding enables humans to respond and adapt to changes locally and globally
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Human activities cause changes in the global climate system
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Specialized Science 12: Climate change impacts biodiversity and ecosystem health
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical Geography 12: Interactions between human activities and the atmosphere affect local and global weather and climate
        • Political Studies: Decision making in a democratic system of government is influenced by the distribution of political and social power.

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Energy (1)

    • Energy Generation
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Social Justice

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

The simulation does a good job in demonstrating the challenge of reaching consensus when dealing with a wide range of participant perspectives.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good

Systems thinking is promoted in the simulation. Each group's proposal is based on understanding the interplay of these dimensions within their countries or jurisdictions.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Very Good

The design of the simulation allows students to experience first-hand, the complexities involved in addressing climate change on a global scale.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

While the resource encourages and supports individual action on climate change, carrying out an action plan is not a required component.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good

Debriefing sessions are built into each round of the negotiations. In the final session students 'step out' of their group role and articulate their own positions, recommendations and commitments.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

Social justice issues, including the current and potential impact of climate change in the developing world are effectively represented in the simulation. 

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

Students must assess the impacts of climate change on the natural world as part of their negotiations.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

Students have the opportunity to represent their own needs and perspectives in both the role playing and action planning.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

The resource addresses past, present and future negotiation efforts to mitigate global climate change.  The resource offers teachers support (and a reminder) to maintain an air of optimism.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

The outcome of the negotiations is dependent on the students' own input.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Very Good

The simulation incorporates concepts and themes in climate science, political science, social studies, social justice and  geography.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good

The role play design, variety of other instructional approaches (video, text, research, computer modelling) along with both group and individual learning environments should address a range of student needs and abilities.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

The role play & simulation provide students with hands-on experience in a real world context.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

Cooperative learning is a key tool in the simulation. While skills are practiced, any explicit instruction of those skills is the responsibility of the teacher.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Poor/Not considered

Assessment tools are not included in the resource.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Good

The negotiations that form the basis of the learning in this simulation are dependent upon students sharing and discussing their various proposals.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

The briefing notes used by the groups to formulate their negotiating positions provide real data and descriptions of real countries and regions of the world.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good

Students are not limited to the briefing notes provided as a source of information. They are encouraged to conduct their own research and there is a wealth of supplementary information included in the resource kit. Students also choose how they wish to arrange themselves and present their proposals including the use of any costumes, props, staging effects and so on.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.