Using 'Design our Climate Simulation' to spark discussion about climate change solutions in K-16 classes

Monday 1:30pm-4:00pm Tate 401-20
Afternoon Mini Workshop


Andrea Bair, Delta College

Looking for a positive, empowering, and flexible tool to introduce climate change solutions to your students? The "Design Our Climate" simulation lets anyone explore strategies using existing technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, using the emission reduction wedge approach. Although designed for K-12 curricula, I've been using the simulation to spark discussion and help introductory undergraduate geoscience students investigate their own questions related to "what can we do to slow or stop climate change?" This mini-workshop will introduce the simulation, provide examples of how to include it in Middle level - undergraduate curricula, give guidance on how to avoid common pitfalls and confusions, and help participants develop a plan to include it in their own classes.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptop or tablet to explore the simulation and contribute to shared documents, and learning goals related to climate change mitigation in a course of their choosing. Participants are not expected to have interacted with the simulation or be familiar with the "wedge approach" before the mini-workshop, but references are provided in case they wish to do so.


By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Gain familiarity with the basic assumptions and information sources behind the "Design our Climate" simulation.
  • Gain experience using the simulation to explore the impact of specific behavioral and technological strategies in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Create their own climate mitigation solution using the simulation.
  • Explore example curricula related to participants' goals and educational contexts.
  • Contribute to hints and tips for navigating the simulation.
  • Outline a plan for using the simulation in their own curriculum.


1:30 Welcome and introductions; survey of participant goals & interests

1:45 Introduction to the "Design Our Climate" sim and background

2:00 Participants explore simulation in teams and contribute to shared documents (questions, tips, ideas, connections)

2:45 Break

3:00 Whole-group share-out

3:15 Participants continue to explore simulation; work on action plans with resources provided by workshop

3:45 Wrap-up and workshop evaluation

4:00 Adjourn


For more information about the "Design Our Climate" simulation: and

Depending on participant interest, we will connect with NGSS, Climate Literacy Principles, Earth Science Week 2022, environmental and climate justice, and "Vision and Change in the Geosciences" resources.

Google doc