SimCityEDU sets middle school students to work on a “Pollution Challenge”

November 14, 2013
By Educator Innovator

SimCityEDU, an Educator Innovator partner, is proudly releasing its first game-based learning and assessment product built on the popular SimCity video game platform. And now the just-released SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! will be showcased today, November 14, at the fifth annual Washington Ideas Forum—a gathering of U.S. policymakers and industry innovators, presented by  The Atlantic, the Aspen Institute, and the Newseum.

Anyone who has played a version of SimCity can imagine the potential for exploration of interacting systems in the simulated SimCity town. This education-focused version, SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!, is intended to act as a powerful teaching tool for educators, integrating learning and assessment aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards in the same experience. Designed for middle school students, the game encourages students to think critically about the challenges facing modern cities and the world around them. In the game, students play the role of “mayor,” addressing issues of environmental impact in a virtual city while maintaining employment levels and citizen happiness. The suite of SimCityEDU tools includes teacher and student dashboards with standards-based reporting, and lesson plans to support use in the classroom. Teachers also have access to an online community where they can create, share, and browse lesson plans and instructional ideas that are designed to address Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.

SimCityEDU is a first product out of GlassLab (or Games Learning and Assessment). GlassLab reflects a shift in the way students can be supported to learn and acquire knowledge. GlassLab expects to engage youth in learning new skills, such as creative problem solving, collaboration and systems thinking, and to master new technologies in their game play. GlassLab will address these new challenges by exploring how digital games can be effective environments for learning and make learning more relevant by connecting with students’ interests.

GlassLab is a collaboration between the nonprofit Institute of Play—also an Educator Innovator partner—EA (Electronic Arts), and learning experts from Educational Testing Service and Pearson’s Center for Digital Data, Analytics & Adaptive Learning, among others. GlassLab researches and develops digital game-based learning and assessment tools that engage students in innovative ways and validate student learning of the core skills deemed critical by states for college and the 21st century workplace. It was established in 2012 with $10.3M in grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! is available for download today from specialized partners Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, SMS Tech Solutions, Edmodo and, in addition to other distributors. For more information, please visit