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First Carbon Game in Oregon, USA

The first Carbon Game was launched during Earth Day celebrations in April 2011 at Stafford Primary School in West Linn, Oregon, USA. 100 fourth graders in four classes took part in the 30-day program to learn about carbon concentrations in the atmosphere, climate change, and how to help through conservation and mitigation.

The most important part of the Carbon Game is the exercise and discussions at home about measuring a family’s carbon footprint. These discussions around the dinner table with parents and siblings often lead to long-term changes in energy use and inspire students to consider their future role in climate change education as they become young adults.

We would like to thank the teachers at Stafford Primary for their willingness to be the first school to try the pilot program. We would like to give a special thanks to teacher Shelly Buchanan for inviting us to Stafford. Shelly explains the significance of the Carbon Game program:

“The Carbon Game uses a hands-on, real-life teaching and learning model that speaks to both students and teachers.  Today, most kids know that we are in an energy crisis.  For them to have an opportunity to investigate this global issue from a personal and practical vantage point, one where they can investigate their own reliance upon and use of fossil fuel, is the most powerful, meaningful and memorable of all.  The Carbon Game gives kids the opportunity to see exactly how they and their family purchase and consume fossil fuel.  Likewise, students have an opportunity to study other energy resources and practice how to transition to other, more sustainable ways of consuming. At Stafford Primary School, where Carsten Henningsen first trialed the Carbon Game, fourth grade students, enjoyed the opportunity to actively investigate through individual data collection and collective analysis, just exactly how energy is consumed in their own homes and in their community.  This hands-on, minds-on experience built awareness that will stay with them for the duration.  And it is this awareness of the leaders of tomorrow we must count on to inspire and implement more sustainable changes in our energy choices of the future.  The Carbon Game is a powerful, relevant tool for helping children understand how much of our lives revolve around the consumption of energy, the many ways we can reduce this consumption, and the alternative energy sources available today and possible in the near future.”

The 100 student households measured their carbon footprints (car miles, air miles, electricity and natural gas) and the total for the 30-day period was 591,588 pounds or an average of 5,916 pounds per household.

Now with the success of this first pilot program, we have the confidence to try the Carbon Game at more schools both in the USA and internationally