Greenhouse Gas Game: Using Play to Learn Complex Concepts

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This Greenhouse Gas Game enables students to interact with each other as they learn about the heat-trapping properties of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. They learn that human actions are altering the levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Teams explore how long it takes to reach the top of the Temperature Tracker based on human activity, with the winner taking the longest to reach the top of the Temperature Tracker.


Learning Objectives

  • Students engage in challenges that determine the fate of the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Students learn that greenhouse gases are heat-trapping gases.
  • Students learn that human actions are contributing to the levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and that these gases impact the livability of our planet.


Most of the materials needed for this activity can be found in the provided pdf (link provided below). Allow time to cut and organize all pieces of this board game before introducing the activity to students.

  • The Game Boards for Round 1 (today) and Round 2 (future) can be found on pages 5-6; Print out one game board for each team.
  • Print double-sided and cut out the Human Activity Cards on pages 7-12. For each team, stack all of the blue and the red cards in separate piles face down next to the game board. The blue cards represent human activities that decrease greenhouse gases while activities on the red cards increase greenhouse gases.
  • Print double-sided and cut out the individual Atmospheric Tiles on pages 13-14. Each team will receive 4 double-sided tiles. The numbers on the board will match the number on the Atmospheric Tiles.
  • Print and cut out the Temperature Trackers found on page 15 and place one Temperature Tracker next to the game board for each team.
  • The following items are not included but necessary for each team: dice and small tokens (one each per team). While this activity uses a wooden Earth Token to track the temperature, other items such as coins could be used instead.
  • Print one copy of the Inspector Sheet found on page 16 for each team; this will be used for both rounds of the game.
  • Once all materials are prepared, review the game instructions on page 3.


The Related Resources Section contains links to web content about the greenhouse effect and the reasons of why the Earth is warming. Review and discuss this information with your students. Then give students instructions for how to play the game.

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Related Resources