An innovative game to teach climate change solutions to senior primary school students is coming to Australia thanks to a new research grant.

Missions With Monty is a quest game developed at North Carolina State University that uses Monty the Monitor Lizard to guide students through complex climate problems.

The game will be adapted to Australian conditions thanks to a University Global Partnerships Network (UGPN) grant that allows a partnership with institutions around the world to develop solutions to a universal issue.

Project leader, Associate Professor Sarah Howard, said the game was aimed at primary school students in Years 5 and 6.

“Students may be given a challenge such as why a population of frogs has migrated away from a pond,” she said.

“They may have to learn about the frog, its environment, what’s happened to the pond’s catchment and what’s happened to the weather.

“With the help of Monty, they encounter scientists, points of data and other animals to investigate the issue.”

She said the funding would adapt the game to Australian conditions, such as drought and fire, and with Australian animals.

With the help of researchers from the SMART Infrastructure Facility, new ways of capturing data from the game would be developed, giving teachers valuable insights into the ways that their students learned.

Finally, new ways would be developed to allow international collaboration among students, building on the existing framework for collaboration within the classroom.

“The interdisciplinary nature of the project -educational psychology, educational technology, computer science, science education, and design – provides the potential for increased faculty collaboration across institutions,” Professor Howard said.

“This process has the potential to provide a model for data collection and international teacher and student multi-national collaboration that could then be extended to any educational context.”

The UGPN aims to develop sustainable world-class research, education and knowledge transfer through an active international network of selected Universities collaborating in research, learning and teaching to benefit global society.

The program will develop a range of jointly enabled innovative solutions to world problems based on shared research expertise and a mobility strategy for increasing the number of faculty, staff and students with international experience.

The UGPN annual conference will be held in Wollongong next year.