Using co-operative gameplay in outreach to change students' perceptions of geoscience

Poster Session Part of Wednesday Poster Session


Annaka Clement, North Dakota State University-Main Campus
Jessie Rock, North Dakota State University-Main Campus
Lydia Tackett, North Dakota State University-Main Campus
Stephanie Day, North Dakota State University-Main Campus
Recent studies have found that for students entering college, altruism is a desired aspect of a future career. Problematically, few students perceived geoscience careers as altruistic or even expressed an understanding of the potential career paths in geoscience. This dissonance in incoming student perceptions of geoscience may be linked to declining major enrollment. Classically, geoscientists have often cited job benefits such as high income, working outdoors, and travel as reasons to pursue a career in geoscience, but these may not be as appealing to the next generation of scientists. This research seeks to test if alternative forms of outreach and recruitment that highlight geoscientists' roles in renewable energy, remediation and environmental fields, and studying climate change alter students' perceptions of geoscientists. To accomplish this, a co-operative game was developed, originally based on SERC activity 49774, a carbon cycle dice game by Callan Bentley. The activity was first modified by Ryan Hollister for the 2018 Earth Educators' Rendezvous, where card sheets for reservoirs were introduced and edited to have students more explicitly calculate relative reservoir sizes, fluxes between reservoirs, and the duration carbon may spend in each reservoir. The game was further altered at North Dakota State University to make carbon reservoir cards more specific to the North Dakota-Minnesota region. The most recent iteration adds co-operative gameplay where students actively intervene in the carbon cycle through roles, including geoscientist, that can actively impact the climate. Our goal is to demonstrate the influence geoscience careers can have on modern challenges, such as climate change, in an engaging format. This most recent version of the game will be used as an alternative outreach tool. This research is currently underway, and data will be collected at middle school, high school, early college, and community events through 2022.