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Plugging in to science

Can video games help a wired generation connect to science?

Laura Buchholz
In a prototype Web-based game for high school students called CO2FX , three players balance the agendas of a politician, a scientist, and an economist while trying to keep the globe cool. The game, under development with funding from the National Science Foundation, is designed to help students explore how policy decisions affect global warming, and it challenges them to make tough choices and then carefully evaluate the results. "Did your fossil fuel use drop? You may get a complimentary email from the country's president. Did your carbon tax cause a sharp increase in unemployment? You may see a video clip from the 'Action Newsroom' showing popular discontent with your actions," the game's Web site cautions. It's a far cry from Grand Theft Auto, but many experts believe the lure of electronic gaming -- even when that gaming involves "a dynamic model of global climate change that captures current...

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