This page is a directory of educational games, simulations, and virtual labs related to Weather, Climate, Atmospheric Science, and the Sun and Space Weather.
This list is a subset of a collection of links to games, simulations, and virtual labs that span a larger range of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education topics.
Annenberg Learner has a Carbon Lab and an Energy Lab in the interactive labs section of its The Habitable Planet course. They also have a Virtual Particle Lab: Compressibility of Air in their Physical Science course. Annenberg Learner also has an extensive collection of hundreds of educational interactives spanning many topics; the list can be filtered to a narrower collection of dozens of interactives for science education, or further refined to show items for specific scientific disciplines (e.g. Earth Sciences or Environmental Science).
Creators: The Annenberg Foundation.
Climate science games and simulations from Bill Nye the Science Guy and Chabot Space & Science Center.
Creators: Bill Nye and Chabot Space & Science Center.
BrainPop hosts many educational animations and other resources. The GameUp section of BrainPop offers free games, many covering science topics, including: Hot Air Balloon, Wind Simulator, Carbon Cycle, Nitrogen Cycle, Water Cycle, Magnet Hunt, and many more.Creators: games on BrainPop come from various sources, including Field Day Lab, Spongelab Interactive, PhET, and others.
Cost: the GameUp section is free; access to other resources on BrainPop requires a paid subscription
A small collection (9 items as of November 2014) of role-playing, board, card, and computer games about climate change and energy use topics..
Creators: various; collection is part of the CAMEL (Climate Adaptation Mitigation E-Learning) climate change education web site.
Several (more than a dozen) climate, carbon cycle and cryosphere models. Most appropriate for college-aged students. Also a textbook and a free online course that use these models..
Creator: Professor David Archer, Department of the Geophysical Sciences, U. of Chicago.
Climate Interactive has a suite of interactive computer simulations and role-playing games covering climate, energy, and systems-thinking topics. Includes C-Learn, Climate Pathways App, World Climate, World Energy, Climate Bathtub Animation, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Simulator, and more..
Creators: Climate Interactive and MIT's Sloan School of Management.
Disaster Dynamics: Hurricane Landfall is a multiplayer, role-playing strategy game that teaches about interactions between natural hazards and human decisions in a Gulf Coast barrier island community..
Creators: National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
EarthGames has produced several computer-based and tabletop games relevant to the atmospheric sciences, climate, and ecology including: Infrared Escape, Climate Quest, AdaptNation, Erode Runner, A Caribou's Tale, and EcoTrivia..
Creators: researchers, game developers and students at the University of Washington.
EdGCM is a research-grade Global Climate Model (GCM) with a user-friendly interface that is suitable for use by students and can be run on a desktop computer..
Creators: Columbia University (New York).
Cost: individual student copy for $29; single user license $199, various prices for more copies (e.g. $49 each for 20+ copies); free 30-day trial demo version available.
Role-playing simulation for groups in which players assume roles as city leaders to prepare for and react to a natural disaster. Two scenarios: coastal city struck by hurricane or inland city with river flooding. Low-tech and high-tech (using laptops or tablets) variants available; also uses cards..
Creators: Koshland Science Museum.
ExploreLearning has created hundreds of simulations for math and science, primarily for students in grades 3-12 (also some college-level). Science simulations cover a range of subjects, with largest collections in physics. Atmospheric science titles include: Greenhouse Effect, Relative Humidity, Hurricane Motion, Seasons, Weather Maps, Coastal Winds and Clouds, and more.
Cost: commercial product - contact ExploreLearning for pricing
Simulation of future atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and temperatures. Student can adjust levels of carbon emissions (from fossil fuel use and land use changes) and carbon uptake (by oceans and land) and see results. Includes lots of background carbon cycle info and a Spanish language version.
Creators: University of Wisconsin-Madison: Carbon and Climate web site by Professor Galen McKinley and colleagues.
JASON Learning has several games and virtual labs interspersed within curriculum units, including: Storm Tracker, The Commander of the Nautilus, Energy City, The Operation: Resilient Planet Game, Coaster Creator, Transform It!, Landform Detectives, and Mastermines.
Creators: JASON Learning (in partnership with the National Geographic Society; founded by Robert Ballard)
Cost: curriculum pricing starts at $75 for single student homeschool or $13/student for 20-99 students.
The MetEd collection includes hundreds of graphics, animations and lesson modules for weather and atmospheric science education. The K-12 Community section of MetEd includes three game-like modules: "Hurricane Strike", "Tsunami Strike! Caribbean Edition", and "Tsunami Strike! Pacific Edition".
Creators: The COMET Program at UCAR
Cost: free, registration required
A full climate model, simplified for educational use. Includes numerous example scenarios and challenge exercises for students; some involve depictions of alien worlds from science fiction movies and books!
Creators: Dr. Dietmar Dommenget and colleagues, School of Earth, Atmosphere & Environment, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Primarily online laboratories targeting the undergraduate introductory astronomy audience, this collection also includes several labs relevant to climate, atmospheric science, the seasons and weather including: Atmospheric Retention Lab, Motions of the Sun Lab, Habitable Zones Lab, and Basic Coordinates and Seasons Lab (Seasons and Ecliptic Simulator)
Creators: Dr. Kevin Lee et al at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
PhET is large collection of simulations and virtual labs covering a range of scientific disciplines and mathematics. The original focus was physics for college students, but the project has expanded into chemistry, biology, and Earth science. Many of the sims are suitable for K-12 audiences.
Partial list of PhET simulations covering atmospheric science topics: Balloons & Buoyancy, Glaciers, Gas Properties, Greenhouse Effect, Molecules and Light, States of Matter: Basics, Bending Light, States of Matter, Molecular Polarity, Reactions & Rates, pH Scale, Plinko Probability and Density
Creator: University of Colorado at Boulder
SERC hosts a wealth of geoscience teaching resources, including a short guide to using games in geoscience courses. Browse SERC's list of visualizations and links to visualization collections, which include simulations. Check out research about the use of visualizations in science education, recommended readings about learning with visualizations, and SERC's collections of visualizations on geoscience topics.
Creators: The Science Education Research Center (SERC) at Carleton College
SMARTIC (Strategic Management of Resources in Times of Change) is a board and role-playing game about resource management in the Arctic in the context of changing climate.
Creators: Polar Learning and Responding (PoLAR) Climate Change Education Partnership at the Columbia Climate Center - Earth Institute at Columbia University; the Teachers College at Columbia University; and Barnard College
The Game Center section of the Smithsonian Science Education Center includes Weather Lab, a simulation/app, and a game called Disaster Detector. Disaster Detector has tornadoes and hurricanes among its disaster types. Weather Lab explores large-scale weather patterns across North America.
Creators: FableVision (Weather Lab) and Filament Games (Disaster Detector) for the Smithsonian Science Education Center
Several (20+) "toy" models representing various components of the climate system, the carbon cycle, and land-atmosphere interactions. Developed using the R programming language and primarily intended for college students (though some are very accessible to high school or younger audiences).
Creators: Professor Scott Denning, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University
Several (17 as of November 2013) weather, climate, and atmosphere simulations and virtual labs.
Creators: Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) at the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
WeatherWise is a large collection of simulations and virtual labs covering weather-related topics. Categories include: storms, temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind, clouds, radiation, climate, basic meteorology, and miscellaneous and non-meteorology. Some simulations are Java-based; others are HTML5.
Creators: Steve Ackerman and Tom Whittaker
A series of five lesson modules with several embedded simulations. Includes "Earth's changing climates", "Interactions within the atmosphere", "Sources, sinks, and feedbacks", "Feedbacks of ice and clouds" and "Using models to make predictions".
Creators: The Concord Consortium