Thinking Detectives Game: The Alps and Climate Change

Four aerial tramway cars going up the side of a slightly snow covered mountain.

A board game created by educators and climate scientists at the University of Edinburgh. While playing learners develop their HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) and discuss whether a fictional ski instructor, Richard Fromm, in the Bavarian Alps, should exchange his skis for bicycle wheels.

The resource is provided within a .zip file package. It includes detailed Practitioner Notes in both MS Word and PDF format, including game map and printable cards, and three PowerPoint presentations.

The setting

Climate scientists are recording a change in the timing and volume of snow precipitation in the Alps. Ski resorts are now making ‘fake snow’ ski runs, either from mains water or from water in alpine reservoirs.

In January 2017, some Alpine Ski resorts were at the point of declaring a water drought. This would mean that there would be no ‘fake snow’ and tourists would be unable to ski. Tourism brings employment and economic benefits to Bavaria. If the skiing season becomes shorter, would mountain biking be an option for adventurous tourists?

The Game

Players are given a presentation on the that sets out Richard’s situation regarding changes to the skiing season in Germany and the tourism industry. Maps and a ‘Where is that place’ game are provided to develop map skills and set the location and geographic regions and features to be considered in the detective game.

In groups of 3-4, players then work through a pack of clue cards to analyse the information and come up with their own reasoning as to whether Richard should remain a ski instructor or lead mountain bike tours. The cards all provide truthful information from the latest scientific research.

Each group comes to a decision and explains their choice and reasoning to the rest of the class, prompting discussion on how those decisions were reached.

At the end of the game the presenter will open a sealed envelop that provides the scientists answer.


Bonus material
Included in this guide is ‘Meet the Scientists’, revealing the real climate scientists who are Richard Fromm, Jack Schaeffer and Viktoria Engel.

Keywords: Climate change, Alps, Germany, German Language, Snow, Skiing, Discussion, Debate, Higher Order Thinking Skills, Game, Maps, Map skills

Go to ‘Thinking Detectives Game: The Alps and Climate Change’ on TES Connect


Image: Aerial tramway in La Grave (France), by NielsB on Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 4.0