Scarcity or Sustainability

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The games officially concluded today (27 May) at Glenala State High School, after almost 200 Grade 7 students teamed up to solve sustainability puzzles during four Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) workshops over the last 10 days.

Created by the QMEA, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), the Scarcity or Sustainability workshop linked the science curriculum to real-world resource industry applications through the medium of cooperative play.

Thanks to the contribution of QRC member companies via an education levy, the workshops pit students not against each other, but against the pressing, real-world issues of scarcity and sustainability.

Using a turn-based simulation style game, students removed disks from a board that represented the consumption of Earth’s precious natural resources.

Taking advantage of the explosion of interest in non-digital, strategic board games over the past decade, the QMEA has adopted the strategy of presenting concepts like efficient supply chain planning, resource consumption management and environmental sustainability in an exciting, practical and hands-on format.

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Katrina-Lee Jones said while technology is important for educating the next generation on STEM topics, the tactile and social experience of collaboratively playing a board game reinforces learning outcomes.

“We’ve found that sustainability ideas resonate well with students when they are asked to consider the best ways to manage non-renewable, natural resources from a coordinated and communal perspective,” she said.

“As a team of educators, the QMEA is constantly developing fresh and innovative ways to excite students in the classroom environment and gamifying an important topic like sustainability resonated well with students,” Ms Jones said.

As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools training initiative, the QMEA seeks to broaden student and teacher knowledge of career opportunities in resources.

The academy encourages a talent pipeline of employees into vocational and professional careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with 90 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.

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