Engage, Educate, Empower: How Our New Board Game Applies Research-Based Principles to Master Wildfire Management

Wildfire Command Guardians of Scientia Game Manual
Are you ready for a gaming experience that will challenge your strategic skills and deepen your understanding of one of today's most pressing environmental issues?

Meet "Wildfire Command: Guardians of the Green," a board game designed to engage middle school students with the pressing issue of wildfire management through interactive and strategic gameplay. This isn't just any game—it's a journey into the heart of environmental science, crafted to align with educational standards and foster deep, meaningful learning.

Why We Created "Wildfire Command: Guardians of the Greens?"

Due to the limited coverage of forest fires, including their impacts and management strategies, students require a deeper understanding of these topics in standard curricula. They must acquire the necessary knowledge to develop and suggest effective technological solutions or innovations for managing or mitigating wildfires.

In recent years, we've noticed a recurring theme in our Academies of Loudoun writing workshops: students often struggle with the depth of content needed to propose viable solutions to environmental issues. Given the complexity of wildfires and their profound impact on ecosystems, communities, and global health, it became clear that our students needed a more dynamic way to engage with this critical subject.

Understanding these natural phenomena has never been more critical in the wake of increasingly frequent and severe wildfires. Yet, traditional learning methods can sometimes fail to capture the complexity and urgency of these environmental challenges. That's where "Wildfire Command: Guardians of the Green" comes in. Designed for young learners, especially those preparing for academically competitive environments like the Academies of Loudoun, this game leverages research-based educational principles to create a dynamic learning experience.

Wildfire Command Problem Solution

Grounded in Educational Theories

Our game design is deeply rooted in proven educational frameworks that cater to diverse learning and playing styles, ensuring that every student can engage meaningfully with the content.

Bartle's Player Types

Whether you're a Socializer who thrives on collaboration, an Explorer driven by curiosity, an Achiever intensely focused on mastering challenges, or a Killer who enjoys strategizing and overcoming opponents, "Wildfire Command" offers something for everyone. Each player type finds its niche within the game, ensuring all players are engaged and motivated throughout their experience.

James Gee's Game Design Principles

The design includes elements such as identity (players assume roles with specific responsibilities), interaction (players must communicate and collaborate), and production (players create strategies and make decisions), all of which contribute to a profound learning experience.

Self-Determination Theory

At the core of "Wildfire Command" is the integration of Self-Determination Theory (SDT) by Ryan & Deci, 2000. This educational principles is woven into the gameplay to foster motivation, engagement, and a more profound learning experience.

  • Competence: Players gain a sense of skill and achievement by tackling challenges through strategic planning and execution.
  • Autonomy: The game encourages decision-making and strategy development, allowing players to influence outcomes directly.
  • Relatedness: By working in teams, players experience a sense of camaraderie and collaboration, which is crucial for successful game outcomes and reflective of real-world environmental management.

Dynamic Role Adaptation

Dynamic Role Adaptation (DRA) adds a layer of engagement, allowing players to switch roles within the game. This feature keeps the gameplay exciting and fresh and gives students the chance to experience different aspects of wildfire management from multiple expert perspectives, enhancing understanding and empathy.

Role Cards

Learning Through Play

FireCard1 Sierra Nevada

The game simulates real-world wildfire management scenarios, where players must assume various roles, from Fire Behavior Analysts to Incident Commanders. Each role is designed to challenge players in different ways.

Exploring Complex Systems

Players learn about the interdependencies within environmental systems as they manage resources, predict weather patterns, and strategize fire containment.

Developing Strategic Thinking

The game’s ever-changing scenarios require players to think ahead, anticipate challenges, and develop long-term management strategies.

Enhancing Communication Skills

As players work together to combat wildfires, they must communicate effectively, share resources, and coordinate their strategies, reflecting real-world collaborative environments.


Alignment with Standards

"Wildfire Command: Guardians of the Green" is meticulously designed to align with both the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core Standards for Math and Writing, ensuring that gameplay reinforces key educational objectives.

NGSS Alignment

The game challenges students to think like environmental scientists and engineers, applying principles from the NGSS such as ESS3.B: Natural Hazards (managing natural hazards through forecasting and mitigation strategies) and ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions (engineering design processes tailored to solving environmental problems).

Math Standards

Strategic gameplay involves mathematical reasoning and problem-solving as players manage resources, calculate risks, and strategize responses to dynamic game conditions, aligning with Common Core mathematical practices.

Writing Standards

While primarily a science-focused game, "Wildfire Command" supports ELA standards by encouraging players to articulate strategies, reflect on their decision-making processes, and debate their choices with teammates, fostering critical thinking and communication skills essential for writing.

Wildfire Command Roles

How Educators, Parents & Students Benefit

Educators and parents will find "Wildfire Command: Guardians of the Green" an invaluable addition to learning tools.

Supplement to Curriculum

Perfect for integrating into environmental science lessons, the game provides a practical application of classroom concepts, helping students see the relevance of their studies in real-world contexts.

Skill Development

Beyond science, the game enhances analytical thinking, mathematical skills, and communication abilities, preparing students for academic success and real-life challenges.

Instill Positive Traits

The game's cooperative nature fosters teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving among players, skills that are increasingly important in both academic and professional settings.

Resource Cards

Educational Adventure

"Wildfire Command: Guardians of the Green" is more than just a board game—it's a call to action for young learners to engage deeply with environmental issues and think critically about solutions. This game is a gateway to understanding complex systems through engaging and meaningful play, whether in the classroom or at home.

Ready to help shape the next generation of environmental scientists and proactive citizens? Bring "Wildfire Command" into your educational toolkit and watch young minds ignite with passion for science and strategy.

Leave a Comment