Louise Dynes (C1net member, SBRC Outreach and Communications Officer) applied for and was awarded funding from the University of Nottingham’s small grant fund and together with match funding from the BBSRC’s Network in Biotechnology and Bioenergy, C1net; Louise has developed a game with the C1net Network Manager, Jacque Minton.
The initiative was to produce an interactive game with the aim to help educate pupils about renewable energy particularly biofuels and the techniques and processes involved in developing them. The game is to be used as a permanent outreach tool to play in schools and at science fairs in order to help educate secondary school pupils and adults as part of a stimulating and fun activity.
1. Raise awareness about renewable energy focusing particularly on biofuels and to provide an understanding of climate change and global warming, as well as the processes involved in producing these fuels. This was achieved by designing the game in a way to help educate pupils as part of a stimulating and fun activity
2. The game complements sections of Key Stage 3 of the National Curriculum, including: cells and organisation, material cycles and energy, cellular respiration, DNA and genes. The game also gives pupils an introduction to microbes and microbiology
3. Parts of the game give players not only scientific knowledge surrounding this topic, but also an insight into the social aspects too. This includes facts about political, publicity and people matters with the intension to give the players real life scenarios about how biofuels are currently perceived
4. The game has been created as a permanent tool which can be reused throughout schools and science fair outreach programmes creating a sustainable activity with long term benefits
5. By using this game we hope to raise aspirations in this area of science and industrial biotechnology with the aim that students will consider studying this new and exciting topic at University in the future.
Each player chooses a game-piece consisting of a miniaturized pick-up truck containing a feedstock; they will also be given a fact card with information on about their particular feedstock. Each player rolls a die and moves their vehicle ahead from the feedstock origins through the preparation and production processes to the final product.
There are challenges along the road; if a player lands on a PPP (Politics, Publicity & People) space they will be given a fact which can either hinder or enhance their movement along the board. If a player lands on a normal road space, they will be required to answer the question correctly in order to continue and if a player lands on a C space (Conference) this means they are at a scientific meeting and will need to say, out-loud, one sentence about their fuel from their fuel fact card and everyone playing gives them a round of applause. There are also STOP! spaces, if a player lands on this space they must read out their disaster and go back the number of spaces as instructed.
The players proceed through the necessary steps and required technologies for a sustainable fuel production. The game concludes when one of the players has developed their entire bio-industrial line production and has made their final product.