“Climate-Neutral City” planning game

Fünf unterschiedlich farbige Arme vor einem weißen Hintergrund, die sich melden, darunter der Text "Planspiel" © Goethe-Institut

Do you teach German at a school? Do you want to get to know an innovative teaching and learning method and have fun at the same time? Are you and your pupils interested in climate change? 
Then join in! Take part in the international internet-based simulation game "Climate Neutral City"!  
The students take on the roles of various interest groups in the fictitious city of Fonta, discuss and negotiate under the leadership of the mayor in their respective national languages, with which measures they can reduce the CO2 emissions of their city by 50% by 2030. After the actual simulation, the students create a three-minute video in German in which they present the measures that the city should implement to the fictitious city parliament. 

“Climate Neutral City” simulation game © Goethe-Institut

It’s getting warmer every year. As we humans make ever more use of fossil fuels, cut down forests and practise intensive agriculture, we are changing the climate: more heat waves and droughts, melting glaciers, rising sea levels.

Participants in the “Climate Neutral City” simulation game competition slip into the role of mayor, a member of “Fridays for Future” or head of the tourism office of the invented city Fonta for the duration of the game. Invited by the mayor representatives of different interest groups gather at a “Round table” in order to negotiate and to decide about possible measurements on how to  to reduce the city’s CO2 emissions by half by 2030, based on a fixed budget  . It aims to become “climate neutral” and no longer emit any CO2, thus helping stop global warming. To reach this goal, the players must decide on the steps to take and ultimately achieve a result by working together.

At the end of the simulation game, the commission will present the result and record the presentation in a three-minute video.

It makes sense to implement the simulation game as part of a project day or project week.

The simulation game is played on a PC or tablet using browser-based software. The participants can both be discussing and negotiating face to face when at school or -when at home- use a video conferencing tool (.e.g.Zoom) to exchange information during the game.


A simulation game is an exciting didactic teaching and learning format. It facilitates experiential learning, which is considered as particularly lasting – and it’s also fun. The core of a simulation game is a real or fictitious challenge. Participants examine key topic-related questions from different perspectives and learn both how difficult and how important it is to take different interests into account and work out compromises. As the outcome of the game is not predetermined, participants can look for different solutions, while putting their negotiation skills to the test and making decisions. They thus experience and shape challenges rather than merely talk ABOUT them.

  • promote constructive handling of conflicts
  • strengthen opinion-forming and debate skills
  • contribute to democracy education
  • motivate to social commitment –
  • deepen knowledge about climate change

In 2022 45 schools in 5 countries with more than 850 students starting at age 14 who speak German at level A1-A2 took part. Two schools choose to play the simulation game with two groups.
2022 the project was no longer designed as a competition. Again the feedback was very positive: 98 % of the teachers and on average 94% of the pupils would take part in a simulation game again.

The pilot simulation game "Climate Neutral City" (still as a competition) was great fun for both pupils and teachers. 15 schools from 5 countries with a total of 213 pupils between the ages of 14 and 18 who speak German at level A1-A2 took part.

Planspiel 2023

In 2023, the simulation project will be continued in a modified form in selected countries. 


Do you have any questions? 
Please get in touch with the contact persons in the participating countries.

Czech Rebublic

Goethe-Institut Prag | Štěpánka Chuwa


Goethe Institut Tallinn | Zoja Kisilenko


Goethe-Institut Dublin | Clíona Weltecke


Goethe-Institut Riga | Ieva Lapina


Goethe-Institut Vilnius | Laura Frolovaité


Goethe-Insitut Krakau | Wojciech Dzido

United Kingdom

Goethe-Institut London

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