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Land Science

Land Science

Land Science is a virtual urban planning internship for middle and high school students. Developed by University of Wisconsin’s Epistemic Games Group, in partnership with Mass Audubon, this National Science Foundation (NSF) funded initiative introduces young people to a new and innovative way of learning. Virtual internships help students learn to think like scientists, scholars, artists, and workers in the real world do. They simulate not only the content that students are tasked with learning in Massachusetts educational standards, but also the ways of thinking—the epistemologies—that some groups of people use to solve problems. In Land Science students participate as interns in a virtual urban planning firm over the course of 8 – 10 hours of class time, where they are presented with a complex, real-world STEM problem with no one optimal solution. As they take on the role of an intern, students form teams in which they must complete tasks including gathering research, adjusting to demands of clients, and presenting proposed solutions. Computer-generated non-player characters (NPCs) serve as supervisors alongside a human-played Planning Consultant to give direction, feedback, and guidance to students throughout the game. In the virtual internship, as in the actual profession, urban planning work is guided by the value of serving the public interest. Participants are tasked with balancing green space and environmental indicators with the social and economic needs of a city. Within the internship students are introduced to the complex socio-ecological systems of cities, the importance of civic engagement, and the role urban planning plays in the development of sustainable cities.


BLA Students

Max Students Allowed: 

Start and End Times During Week
Start and End Dates: 
Wed, 03/08/2017 - Fri, 04/07/2017
Start and End Times During Week: 
08:30 AM - 11:45 AM