Screenshot of city-building and management game, Sim City
Screenshot of city-building and management game, Sim City

Use SimCity to make learning come alive

Originally released for the Super Nintendo in 1989, SimCity is a simulated environment that models a real-world urban environment. Players can control true-to-life factors–water, power, taxes, pollution, unemployment, and education–that impact their city, as well as neighboring cities. “Mayors” of a simulated city don’t just operate independently, their decisions and actions affect surrounding regions where they can choose to send rescue supplies or withdraw their aid from other towns.

For a more educated city, more universities must be introduced. To curb high unemployment ratios, factories must be built. Players need to see beyond the big picture of their city and pay attention the citizens, or Sims, that call their city home. The new multiplayer mode lets players interact on an unprecedented level with commerce, trade, collaborations, and earning achievements. SimCity provides real-time in-game updates, as well as constantly added new features and content.

Keywords / Definitions

  • Simulated Environment: A virtual world that acts and behaves like a real life environment

  • The Sims: Game created by Electronic Arts that allows players to create interactive characters

  • Virtual Game-Building: Building games that exists in the virtual world, either via the web on on an electronic device the range of what people can design, create, and learn.

In the classroom, SimCity is more than a game – it is a way for the next generation of leaders to hone their skills through urban planning,environmental management and socio-economic development.
—SimCityEDU website

SimCity not only looks incredibly like a real city, it also behaves like one. Both in and out of the classroom, players explore actual challenges and issues that face urban environments like city planning, environmental management, engineering, trade, and socio-economic development.Teachers can use games like SimCity to connect STEM concepts to a variety of subjects and applications.The PC software is available to teachers for roughly $60, but allows for up to 16 different cities to be created. A version for Mac will be available in June 2013.

The introduction of  SimCityEDU, a collaboration of Electronic Arts and Glass born out of research from the MacArthur Foundation, has brought together a wealth of teacher resources from around the world into one dynamic hub. Educators can create and share learning tools, lesson plans, success stories, assessments, and challenges related to SimCity learning. Virtual game-building is a proven learning tool that sparks student interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects, while developing 21st century creative problem solving and critical thinking skills.

SimCityEDU was last modified: April 1st, 2014 by Matt Hannigan