What it is: Scholastic and Nature’s Source have teamed up to create the Virtual Forest Challenge game to help students understand how their actions have real implications in local and global ecosystems. The game leads students through a variety of virtual environments and along the way asks them to make decisions about how they would act in the ecosystem they are in. If students answer correctly (make the correct decision) they continue in the game. If they answer incorrectly, they are offered the correct answer accompanied by an explanation.
How to integrate Virtual Forest Challenge into the classroom: Virtual Forest Challenge would be a good site to use in conjunction with Earth Day. However, since the principals of Earth Day are valid year round, it can be used any time throughout the year. This would be a great challenge to take on as a class with an interactive whiteboard or projector. As students make decisions in the virtual world, discuss why one option is better for the ecosystem than another. Virtual Forest Challenge would also be a good challenge for students to take on solo in the computer lab setting.
Tips: Visit the Teacher Resource section for some great accompanying lesson plans and resources. Here you will find a Community Planting guide, a Community Planting poster, a lesson plan about the delicate balance between people and the ecosystems we are a part of, and a lesson about Our Community Past Present and Future.