New online game aims to teach kids fun and energizing way to Power Up

Power-Up-promoTri-State, together with the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, has launched an exciting new online game to help teach young students in classrooms across the U.S. about the value of electricity and how it’s used to power different regions of the country.

The idea for the “Power Up” energy game was born more than a year ago at the national “Ag in the Classroom” conference in Loveland, Colo. It was there that Gigi Dennis, Tri-State’s senior manager of external affairs, learned about the educational outreach activities of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture and began exploring partnership opportunities. “It made sense to partner with Farm Bureau because their philosophy is in sync with the co-op philosophy,” said Dennis.

The foundation’s “My American Farm” website was created to teach agricultural literacy to consumers and the public through interactive computer games. Specifically targeting kids in grades 3-5, students learn where food comes from and how those products get from the farm to their dinner plate. The online, interactive aspect of the educational project lets students learn about agriculture while having fun.

In addition to family fun activities, links and educator resources, a number of different games on the site reinforce core American educational curriculum standards of science, math, geography and language arts.

My-American-FarmThe “Power Up” energy game is unique to the site, as it teaches users about the vital role electricity plays in supporting agriculture. “We wanted to show all energy is good,” Dennis explained. “Kids select from various energy resources in the game to create a balanced portfolio.”

Tri-State’s production resource strategy manager Mark Wilson and Art Mander, delivery research strategy manager, worked to develop the game with Vivayic, Inc. – a consulting and design firm specializing in learning, training and knowledge transfer.

According to Wilson, the theme of the game is to teach young people about the many different aspects of energy resources, while providing information about the positives and drawbacks of each. “I think the goal is to give people an unbiased, agenda-free education about various energy resources,” he said.

Power-Up-logoVivayic and Tri-State’s collaborative process of developing the game took several months. “It was a fun process,” Mander said. “We gave them a lot of technical input and met several times to make sure the game would be a great learning resource.”

The objective of the game is to deliver full power to the energy grid in particular regions of the United States. When choices are made, the game will respond back with approvals or restrictions. For example, if a player chooses a large load of solar power in the northeast area of the country, his or her selection will be restricted since sunshine is not as abundant there as in other areas of the country.

“We are thrilled with the game and excited to start sharing it with others,” said Angela Mayfield, instructional designer at Vivayic.

Now that it is live, Tri-State will begin encouraging its member systems to link to the game from their own websites.

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