Installing an energy grid in a city

Affiliation: University of Thessaly
Resolution: Group | Duration: Two to four hours



The problem aims to build STEM skills among secondary education students by combining knowledge from diverse subjects for solving a real life engineering problem through a methodology that simulates the way engineers work in real world professional contexts. The students will be asked to build an energy network for a city by deploying the eCity serious game. Through the game, students will assume professional roles, such as that of the mayor, and will have to think analytically and critically to install a network that addresses residential and industry energy needs in a given city while taking into account financials constraints, the need for redundancy of energy production to avoid blackouts, and environmental constraints. The main goals of this activity are that students can understand basics of energy distribution while being motivated to work in groups. It also aims at awakening curiosity in the students and show how science is present in the real life.

Learning Objectives

The main objective of this activity is that students can achieve some basic concepts of energy distribution while they are playing with eCity, without going in depth in any of the concepts and terms. They have to understand the differences between the high, medium and low voltage current and where and when those are needed. After playing the game, students should: - Understand issues related to energy production from traditional and emerging sources - Understand issues related to pollution resulting from energy production - Understand the need to work within specific resources, including financial ones - Understand the need for redundancy in energy production for avoiding blackouts


In the context of the activity the student plays the role of a city mayor. The mayor is asked to produce energy that covers the city's needs. At the beginning of the activity the city has no inhabitants as a result of no available energy to houses and factories. The student will need to apply an engineering mindset to build an energy production grid that addresses the city's needs within specific time and financial constraints. The activity deplays the eCity game, which can be freely downloaded. It can be played in teams in a classroom. Teams will compete for the maximum number of residents that inhabit the city. During gameplay, students may face unexpected events, such as a factory going out of operation, which encourages to think about real life issues such as redundancy. In addition, students may run out of financial resources or time, which encourages them to contemplate working within constraints.