Category Archives: Algorithms

Habitat launches curriculum materials

We have just launched our Sustainability Learning Guide, it is based on Habitat the Game, and has been designed to engage and inspire students, teachers and the wider community to play Habitat and take personal and community actions on sustainability. This guide is a dynamic and interactive resource that can be used to extend sustainability actions beyond time in the classroom and while looking at screens.

It has been created for years 3,4,5 and 6.

The methodology used to develop the Guide included collaboration from a wide range of stakeholders including teachers, students and environmental educators from Australia. It links to the National Australian Curriculum. Many of these activities have been inspired by existing materials created by the BBC, NatGeo, The Coal Loader Sustainability Guide and NASA.

Sustainability is one of the core curriculums in the National Australian Curriculum. Download the link here:
http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/crosscurriculumpriorities/sustainability

Habitat Unit plans

This guide can be used as a 10 week unit or individual plans. When using the individual plans it is valuable to download the whole learning guide below.

Habitat the Game Learning Guide – offers a full Version of the guide that includes all of the Lesson Plans.

You can see the individual unit plans on our main website at:

http://www.habitatthegame.com/teachers/curriculum-materials/

Let’s evaluate the game

Can a game change behaviour?

We are looking for teachers to help us collect some data

We would like you to help us answer a couple of questions:

Does the game Habitat increase the practice of environmentally friendly behaviors by players of the game?

Does the game Habitat encourage children to spend more times outdoors?

Calling all teachers!

Calling all teachers!

If you are interested in joining the study please contact me at
kylee (at) habitatthegame.com

I look forward to hearing form you. Base line data collection is fun!

With thanks,

Kylee

How much have you saved?

Captain P is my Habitat user name. I have 3268 Habitat points which places me in 45th position on the leader board. A couple of weeks back I received an email from 7 year old Madeline telling me she loved the game and she was top of the leader board with over 5000 points.

I can’t see Madeline from my position but I am sure she has racked up many more points by now.

When players sign in we are all asked to sign onto the honour system by ticking a box that says we promise to tell the truth about our real world missions. So there is no way for us to verify if players are lying about what they have done in the real world but I am able to tell you about what I have achieved in the month I have been playing. I have tried to be as accurate about my behaviours as possible and according to my profile I have saved:

–       240 buckets of water,
–       103.8 feet of land, and
–       5181 balloons of carbon.

The calculations of my real world behaviours

So what does this mean? It is the team at Integrated Sustainable Analysis at Sydney University who have up with the algorithms and our measurement tools.

The number of buckets represents the litres of water based on an averaged sized 10 litre bucket or 2.64 gallons.

Buckets of water represent the number of litres of water you have saved

Buckets of water represent the number of litres of water you have saved

The number of footprints represents the area of land that a player has NOT disturbed by their actions. The measurement is based on a typical human footprint area of 300 cm2 or 47 square-inches.

Represents the area of land you have NOT disturbed

The number of balloons represents the volume of greenhouse gas emissions measured in terms of volume of C02 gas, 1 kg or 2.2 pounds.

The number of balloons represents the volume of greenhouse gas emmissions

Remember all of these actions are based around rewarding players when they are under the national average.

So if we add all of my measurements up I have saved:

–       2,400 Litres of water or 576 Gallons of water
–       31,140 cm2 or 4,878.6 square inches of land
–       5181 kg or 11,398.2 pounds of carbon

I could keep calculating to tell you that each gallon of gas you put in a car produces 14 pounds of carbon dioxide. My behaviours equate to about the equivalent savings of over 800 gallons of gas.

Although we can never verify the actions of our players, right now we have a couple of thousand kids playing and collectively they have saved:

Community Saved Water Buckets: 32703.48

Community Saved Soccer Fields: 882965.09

Community Saved Light bulbs: 2935397.98

And who said kids can’t make a difference? It is going to take top down and bottom up approaches to address global issues like climate change and we need our kids to know they can be part of the solution.

We are keen to know what you have saved and what that equates to. Please share your profile with us on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/habitatthegame

To learn more about how Sydney University came to calculate these savings go to our previous blog post:

https://habitatthegame.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/incentivising-players-to-reduce-their-footprint-by-25-below-the-national-average/

 

Incentivising players to reduce their footprint by 25% below the national average

The team at Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney have been working with the gang at Habitat to create metrics for the players behaviours that will resonate with our demographic.

We are measuring the amount of carbon, water and land saved. These measurements are represented as:

Real World savings are represented as buckets, light bulbs and footprints

Real World savings are represented as buckets, light bulbs and footprints

  • Buckets
  • Footprints
  • Balloons

The players will be learning:

“The number of buckets represents the litres of water you have saved. The measurements are based on an averaged sized 10 litre bucket (2.64 gallons). 70% of the world’s surface is water and only 2.5% is freshwater with less than 1% of the freshwater accessible to humans.”

“The number of footprints represents the area of land that you have NOT disturbed by your actions. The measurement is based on a typical human footprint area of 300 cm2 (47 square-inches). By reducing your resource use, by consuming different sorts of products or by reducing waste, you are treading more lightly on the planet.”

“The number of balloons represents the volume of greenhouse gas emissions that you have saved. Measured in terms of volume of C02 gas, 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of CO2 is equivalent to 140 typical party balloons. CO2 is the most important greenhouse gas contributing to global warming.”

We have based the point system in the game around incentivising the players towards a 25% reduction in their carbon, water and land use – compared with the national average.

Below is our most current calculations showing the player reductions and the links to the point (reward) system:

The correlation between points and player reductions

The correlation between points and player reductions

Real World Questions for the Players

In addition to taking care of the bears and playing mini-games, players can earn eco tokens by performing real-world missions.

These missions vary in difficulty. Many will be “honor system” activities that the app does not directly track, but maintains an instructional value whether the player performs them or not.

The eco tokens that are earned can use in the virtual store. Undertaking real world actions will also improve the health of the glacier park where their bear resides.

Some of the example questions for our players can be seen below. The savings for these behaviours are calculated by Sydney University.

Dark nights
I turned off the lights
INSERT – number of lights
INSERT – number of nights

Super Scrub
I took a short shower (3 minutes or less)
INSERT – number taken

Hit the Source
I turned off electronic gadgets at the source
INSERT – number of gadgets
INSERT – Hours

 No Baggage
I took our own shopping bags to the store
INSERT – Number of bags

If you have any ideas about actions your kids would like to do let us know.

Or join this discussion on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/habitatthegame

 

 

 

Ecological Footprint Savings

Habitat players will be asked questions about their environmental behaviours and also be provided with the amount of saving they have made undertaking real world actions. All the algorithms measuring the behaviours will be undertaken by the ISA team at Sydney University:

http://www.isa.org.usyd.edu.au/

We will be measuring these savings in terms of Carbon/Energy (C02), Land area (m sq) and Water (L).

In order for these savings to resonate with our players, their savings will be represented in terms of the number of objects just as hot air balloons, swimming pools, barrels of oil and soccer fields they have saved.

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We will be measuring the savings for individual players and as the Habitat community. Over time we hope that the savings they make as a community will be impressive and kids will be able to see what they can achieve when they work together as a unit.

There is an old African proverb we love; “If you want to go quickly do alone. If you want to go far go together.”

Sustainability expert Chris Andrew talks a little about the importance of working together as a collective:

Habitat’s Algorithms

Dr Chris Dey (Senior Research Fellow in the Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) team in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney) talked to us about the research they are undertaking at the ISA and how they measure footprints.

In the publication below the team at ISA have recorded imports and trade for 187 countries, over 20 years, for 15,000 different industries. Remarkably this data allows them to show the impact individual product purchases have on life cycles in other countries and on different species.

The diagram above shows the threat to species caused by exports from Malaysia and imports to Germany.

The diagram above shows the threat to species caused by exports from Malaysia and imports to Germany.

Chris and his team are adapting this incredibly detailed research to provide the analysis of kid’s footprints measuring impacts in terms of land, carbon, water and energy.

Check out the background publication here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22794089

In the interview below Dr Chris Dey talks about how they work out ecological footprints