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Science Matters: Role-Playing Games for Students

Science History Institute/Conrad Erb

Our Science Matters role-playing games are designed to enhance the classroom experience for high school chemistry students and teachers. The games can also be implemented in social studies classes, in college settings, and in crossdisciplinary projects or clubs.


Students debate the positive and negative viewpoints of these important environmental issues by adopting the roles of characters representing positions on all sides, from activists and manufacturers to regulators and consumers.

The games teach students to understand multiple perspectives and to recognize the complex issues facing today’s policy makers, while also emphasizing the role of history in the formation of policy. By understanding the history of the issues, the changes brought about by these industries, and the historical context for the characters’ positions, students are better able to engage in a contemporary debate while gaining real-world skills.

Sponsors and Credits

Science Matters: The Case of Plastics has been supported by Heritage Philadelphia, a program of the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.

Support for Science Matters has also been provided by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Special Grant Program in the Chemical Sciences.