In this game, players—both students and the public—take on the role of farmers working to sustainably grow crops to produce energy resources, earn income and improve ecosystem services. In doing so, players engage in sophisticated systems-level thinking and learn about:
- Ecological and economic aspects of sustainability
- Short and long term dynamics of the sustainable systems
- Local and global impacts of individual farmer management decisions
Interacting with and making sense of game dynamics demonstrates the complexity involved with the sustainable production of bioenergy crops and facilitates engagement with current research and sustainability in ways that are difficult with traditional instructional approaches.
Play online at http://fieldsoffuel.org/
Extend the learning by combining this activity with The Science of Farming research story, Growing Energy data dive, Biomass Yield and Root Growth in Crops field investigations, Root Depth Model, and Bioenergy Farm Game.
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Biodiversity & Evolution
Carbon Cycle & Climate Change
Plants & Photosynthesis
Sustainable Energy Systems
Sustainability, biodiversity, carbon cycle, energy, net energy, life cycle assessment, systems modeling, photosynthesis, carbon sequestration, agriculture, ecology, climate change, supply and demand, water quality, perennial vs annual, ecosystem services, data analysis, scientific argumentation
Familiarity with basic farming practices, concept of sustainability, concept of bioenergy and biofuels, some experience interpreting graphs helpful
One or more 50-minute class periods