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Beat the Uncertainty: Planning Climate-Resilient Cities

Tarlise Townsend, Astrid Kause, Peg Steffen, Dinh Thai Hung, Than Ngo Duc, Vinh Nguyen Li Ai, Susan Fox, NOAA

This learning activity explores the concept of resiliency. It allows students to make city planning decisions and then employs a game to test their resilience decisions against potential impacts from severe weather, climate change, and natural hazards.

This learning activity takes one to two 45 min class periods. Additional classroom materials needed: Flat-bottomed marbles; food containers.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Before starting the activity, review and discuss the Resilience Measure Checklist as a class, without leading students in making decisions, in order to put the activity into context.
  • For middle school and lower high school grades, students would likely need help with vocabulary. Educators may want to provide the associated vocabulary or ask students to create a word bank with the terms used in this lesson.
  • Run through a practice round of the game without students to ensure you have all the materials and understand the game play.
  • Depending on the class and the context, teachers can omit the arts and crafts section early on and move directly to the decision making aspects of the game.

About the Content

  • Students explore the concepts of climate resiliency, planning, and economics as they prepare for the uncertainty of climate-related natural hazards.
  • This activity describes two critical aspects in climate literacy: resilience and uncertainty. Rolling the dice helps teach the abstract concept of uncertainty.
  • It's worth noting that the impacts of climate change and other natural hazards will disproportionately affect underserved communities.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - Lists the adaptation strategies to combat climate change
    - Incorporates the threats of climate change
    - Illustrates the severity that uncertainty of climate change has on a city and it's decision makers

About the Pedagogy

  • This activity allows students to explore the complex nature of planning for resiliency in cities. They need to consider economic, social, and scientific considerations when making their decisions.
  • The collaborative game aspect is engaging, as is the element of chance when rolling the dice and bracing for the next event.
  • The activity is low-tech and is a useful way to demonstrate the intricacies in making resiliency decisions in advance of unknown climate events.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The game should be easy to set up and play, however, there may be some confusion around the setup or the details of the game play the first time it is used in a classroom.
Entered the Collection: August 2018 Last Reviewed: July 2018

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