We explored how computer games developed as part of an innovative set of climate change education materials helped students learn and gain interest in global climate change (GCC) science by making it personally relevant and understandable. This research was conducted in a public school district in the southeastern United States. The curriculum, Climate Change Narrative Game Education (CHANGE), used a local, place-based approach using scientific data gathered from the Gulf of Mexico coast and incorporated (a) computer games, (b) a scientifically web-based science fiction novel about future Gulf coast residents, and (c) hands-on laboratory activities. This paper focuses on how the computer games affected students’ learning, validity of their beliefs about GCC, and understanding of the effects of GCC on the region’s sea level and storms. The data collected included students’ exam scores, and surveys about student perceptions of climate change science and perceptions of the materials. On exam questions related to GCC science, students who participated in the CHANGE curriculum scored significantly higher than their peers who did not. Also, their beliefs about GCC increased in validity. The nature and design of the computer games had a strong impact on students’ understanding of sea level rise and storms.
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