Quick access:

Go directly to content (Alt 1) Go directly to first-level navigation (Alt 2)
“Climate Neutral City” simulation game© Goethe-Institut

“Climate Neutral City” simulation game

In cooperation with 45 schools in Estonia, India, Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic, the Goethe-Institut conducted the Internet-based simulation game "Climate Neutral City" for the second time in 2022. 850 students learning German participated in their respective national languages.

The project will be implemented in selected countries in 2023.

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.

On 74% of the pupils the project had a positive effect on their motivation to learn German. They could imagine improving their knowledge of German in such a way that they would be able take part in a simulation game in German. The 47 videos they created in German after the simulation game, in which they present the result of their round table discussions, document their enthusiasm.

Asked whether the simulation game provided their pupils with the opportunity to develop skills and competences which usually do not come to fruition during regular lessons, 98% of the teachers stated: “Yes”. Among these competences were: to develop an opinion of their own, to encourage students get engaged socially, to discuss and to deal with conflicts in a constructive manner.

The students themselves most often stated apart from „discussing“, „team building“ when asked what they had learned from the simulation game.

In order to strengthen the learning impact, observers of the games gave the students a constructive feedback, a new feature within the project design which teachers as well as observers themselves considered to be very useful. 94% of the observers had the impression that the students could comprehend their feedback.

For the first time all participants from the 5 countries had the opportunity to meet during an online event in German. During the encounter the 5 favorite videos, one from each participating country, chosen by the students themselves where presented. Besides they could practice their German during interactive activities and interview two German students in Berlin who had played the simulation game as well. The great majority of the pupils would want to take part again in an event in German.
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.

All teachers and on average 89% of the pupils would take part in a simulation game again.
For 77% of the students, the project had a positive effect on their motivation to learn German. They could imagine improving their knowledge of German in such a way that they could take part in a simulation game in German. The videos created at the end of the simulation game, in which they present the result of the round table discussion, document their enthusiasm

Finally, everyone met on 30 November 2022 at an international online event where the most successful videos that the students have created on German as part of the project were presented. From 47 submitted videos, the students themselves chose their favorites. Students from the following schools have created their favorite videos:

The videos of all schools can be found in the school portraits.

School portraits 2022


Kontakt: Planspiel „Klimaneutrale Stadt“ © Goethe-Institut If you still have questions, please contact the address indicated for your country: