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climate change basics - Mini Game

  • Game Designer: Christopher Petrone
  • Content Area: Science
  • Recommended Ages: Middle Grades, High School, Adult
  • Ideal Group Size: Small Group
  • Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Earth’s climate is changing in unprecedented ways: global air and ocean temperatures are rising, sea level is rising, land ice is thinning and melting, species’ ranges are shifting, and the world ocean is becoming more acidic (less basic). But, there are actions we can take to adapt to and mitigate a changing climate.

Inside this box is the strategy to save the world from climate change. Your job is simple: break into this box and you will save the planet. The locks you see were installed by the world’s leading greenhouse gas contributors. The locks can be removed by following five clues.

We are all depending on you; good luck.

3-DIGIT LOCK = 4-0-0

4-DIGIT LOCK = 2-0-1-5



1. This game is meant to be played in fifteen minutes or less (hence the “mini-game” in the title). It was designed for high-turnover exhibits at informal education centers, public outreach events, or even parent open-house/orientation night. It could also be used as a beginning- or end-of-class review by classroom teachers, or as a pre/post assessment for a climate change unit. As such, the clues are very basic and the game does not have an elaborate set up. The game assumes that the facilitator only has a small table or cart on which to set up the game.

2. Print digital resources (intro text, clue packet, wind and solar posters, and 6Rs poster for large lockbox). Make sure to print clue #1 two-sided, to get the puzzle piece template on the back.” For best results, trim clue #1, laminate it, and then cut it out according to the puzzle template on the back side. Place the puzzle pieces in a pile (or envelope) in front of the large lockbox

3. In the large lockbox, place the 6-Rs poster (trimmed and laminated), and any other rewards you would like to include.

4. Lock the UV flashlight in small lockbox. Place the small lockbox somewhere on the table/desk, near the large lockbox. Set the 3-digit lock to 4-0-0.
NOTE: If you choose, you can hide clues #2-5 in the small lockbox. There are advantages (declutters the space; forces participants to concentrate on first clue/lock--this is especially good for those that have never played a Breakout game before) and disadvantages (could be overwhelming to get all that info at once, paper will begin to get crumpled/hard to read with constant folding/unfolding and cramming into the small lockbox).

5. On the “Sea Level Trends” map, with the invisible ink pen, write “L2R” (left to right) in the white space next to the Sea Level Trends key/legend. Next, circle trend arrows as seen in the *INSTRUCTOR ONLY Sea Level Trends digital resource.

6. The following locks will be used on the hasp:

  1. Set the direction/speed lock to UP - DOWN - UP - UP - DOWN

  2. Set the 4-digit lock to 2-0-1-5.

  3. Set the word lock to D-E-N-S-E.

  4. The keyed lock.

7. Tape the keyed lock key on the back of the laminated solar energy “poster.”

8. Since this is a mini-game, provide only one HINT card.

9. Depending on the space you have available, set up a laptop with countdown timer, an egg timer, or phone/tablet timer. Set timer to FIFTEEN MINUTES. Make sure it is visible to participants.




Email info@breakoutedu.com if you have any questions. 


Climate change, science, mini-breakout