New online game encourages students to learn about estuaries

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Ocean Service has unveiled a new online educational game called “WaterLife: Where Rivers Meet the Sea.” Developed through a partnership with Montgomery College’s Computer Gaming and Simulation program in cooperation with NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System, the web-based game provides science instruction for students in grades 4-7 through a series of challenges and animations. The game occurs inside the ecosystem of an estuary on the West Coast of the United States. Following a young girl named Valerie, players interact with Oscar the sea otter and the fictional Claminator, a geoduck clam. To succeed, players must learn about the factors that produce healthy estuaries, food webs, and why estuaries are essential to both ocean life and humans. During the course of the game, students recycle and clean up trash, remove obstructions in waterways, replant the habitat to bring back food webs, and battle pollution monsters to restore Oscar’s home.