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Free Resources: A NOAA Online Game that Encourages Students to Learn About Estuaries

Posted Mar 19, 2009
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NOAA's National Ocean Service has launched a new educational online game called "WaterLife: Where Rivers Meet the Sea." It was announced at the annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association in New Orleans. Developed through a partnership with Montgomery (Md.) College's Computer Gaming and Simulation program and designed in cooperation with NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve System for students at the fourth through seventh grade level, the web-based game provides science instruction through a series of challenges and animations.


The game occurs inside the ecosystem of an estuary on the West Coast of the United States. Following a young girl named Valerie, players interact with Oscar the sea otter, and the fictional Claminator, a geoduck clam. To succeed, players must learn about the factors that produce healthy estuaries, food webs, and why estuaries are essential to both ocean life and to humans. Students recycle and clean up trash, remove obstructions in waterways, replant the habitat to bring back food webs, and battle pollution monsters to restore Oscar's home. The game is available online at


"WaterLife: Where Rivers Meet the Sea" is being launched in conjunction with the National Science Teachers Association conference in New Orleans. NOAA's National Ocean Service is an active partner with NSTA in the development of teacher training materials using NOAA content. Montgomery College is a public open admissions community college with three campuses, plus workforce development and continuing education centers and off site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md.

Source: NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration),

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