Curricular Content

The curricular content presented in EcoJourneys is based on the Systems and Cycles curriculum. We designed the problem-solving scenarios to align with a systems learning perspective moving from understanding relevant components and simple processes or mechanisms in a system (e.g., competition), before advancing to more complex ecosystems interactions. These complex interactions include the cycling of matter (e.g., decomposition) and movement of energy (e.g., respiration) and how these processes relate to limiting factors within an ecosystem.


Within the narrative of the game, students participate in a cultural exchange program and learn about tilapia fish farming practices in the Philippines. Students meet multiple stakeholders and learn more about ecosystems. The narrative is intended to orient students to the problem with a baseline understanding of ecosystem concepts. Each student is asked to explore different components and mechanisms and to share the information with their group members at a virtual whiteboard. Students are then asked to brainstorm and reason about possible hypotheses for why the fish might be sick.

Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

The EcoJourneys collaborative game-based learning environment curriculum maps to the three dimensions in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), focusing on interdependent relationships in ecosystems, ecosystem dynamics and functionings (Disciplinary Core Ideas), systems and systems thinking (Crosscutting Concepts), and Science and Engineering Practices. In particular, the unit is aligned to a modified version of the following NGSS standards: MS-LS2-1 and MS-LS2-4.

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