Environment-themed game adaptation promotes learning Canadian plants

Monday, March 20, 2023
by Charlie Jou-ter Woort
Charlie Jou-ter Woort

My name is Charlie Jou-ter Woort (they/them), I’m an Environment, Resources and Sustainability (ERS) major, and I created "ERS-opoly" as a part of my Honours Research Seminar (ERS 402).

I decided to make this game because I wanted a chance to be a bit more creative than an essay or research paper would allow. I also love to craft and have a more hands on approach. The ERS program and all of its professors are really great at encouraging assignments that deviate from stereotypical assignment outlines. This gives room to be more creative with assignments and focus on what your interests are, rather than following a one-size-fits-all approach. The ERS program has really allowed me to explore my interests in typically non-conventional ways which has enabled me to learn in the most effective way possible.

This game is identical to Monopoly, except it is environment themed. Instead of properties, train stations, houses and hotels, there are plants, bodies of water, mushrooms, and tents. Each plant/property card has the standard information on the front (rent and building prices) and information about the plant on the back. Everything else is themed around the environment. While taking on the idea of going on a hike, the “Go” is “Trailhead”, “Jail” is the “Bog”. The chance and play cards focus on nature activities rather than taxes and fees; for example, “You forgot bug spray; lose a turn to swat mosquitoes”.

“ERS-opoly” promotes the learning of Canadian plants and their uses and benefits. It covers flowers, shrubs, trees, and crops while discussing what they are used for, where they are found, and what ecosystems they live in. Seeing images of these plants can prompt people to identify these plants in their natural, outdoor habitats. This promotes engaging with the natural world and furthering the education and awareness of plant species.

I’d love to see this game used in an outdoor educational setting, like a camp. It would be good for those rainy days when you can’t explore the outdoors, but still want to do an activity that encourages learning and is also fun.

ERS-opolgy game board and box