The SUSTAIN! Game: Play-Based Learning for Sustainability

By Nadine Gudz.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper is based on a study of a unique sustainability education tool with the caveat that it was not designed with this intention. SUSTAIN!© is a life-size board game originally created to engage youth and raise awareness about sustainability in the context of a local community planning process. The Game has since evolved into a practical teaching and learning tool for sustainability, attracting interest from a broad range of disciplines and sectors. In the interest of further developing and improving the Game in light of its evolving audiences and applications, a survey study was conducted in 2005. This paper summarizes the main findings of the study and reveals some of the ways in which the SUSTAIN! game serves as a useful introductory tool to understanding sustainability issues and promotes self-reflection. Integrating theories of play, this paper begins by exploring different perspectives in sustainability education, then draws attention to the value of affective learning and the potential merits of “aesthetically-rich, play-based experiences” (Statler et al. 2002) to foster dialogue and imagine alternative futures. The discussion critically examines the strengths and limitations of the SUSTAIN! game and offers general insights into the development, application and evaluation of educational games.

Keywords: Sustainability Education, Play Theory, Affective Learning, Educational Games

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.57-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 787.543KB).

Nadine Gudz

Doctoral Candidate, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

As a Master’s student in the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Nadine developed the SUSTAIN! game with her friend and colleague, Jill Lewis. Nadine is currently conducting doctoral research on post-secondary education planning in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada.


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