Our colleague Charlotte Johnson together with Simon Miller from Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN) visited the Wadebridge Secondary Schools Climate Change Group and also played “Watts the Deal?”. Simon kindly shared some of his insights on playing the game with us:
Five of the pupils from the Climate Change Committee volunteered to play and discuss the game for an additional hour after the initial presentation. Interestingly, the five-year 9 students picked up the rules of the game very quickly. More quickly in fact than the adult board game group tested on 10th March! This could be for a couple of reasons. Charlotte’s explanation of the game was clear and concise, and if anything did seem unclear to the students then she could help. I also believe that they took to the game more rapidly from not having assumptions based on existing energy bill paying habits that their parents generation might have.
We played two games where all but one of the pupils, (who in both games had to buy energy from the other players and the grid leaving her in fuel poverty!), generally were self sufficient to the extent that they ended both games at no financial loss and having met their energy demands. They also sold to their peers with great caution, wanting to help but considering their own potential usage over the following days.
They went away having genuinely enjoyed the game with an understanding that it reflected real-life energy use, where if they’re more careful in how they use energy, they could reduce carbon emissions and save money. They also understood that, whilst there were ups and downs in energy demands and supply, that over a year, (or over more games), their solar generation and storage would be quite predictable. Overall, I found this a very positive engagement with students who are very quick to understand the future challenges of energy usage and how, in the future, energy may be generated closer to the point of demand and this supply could be used far more effectively amongst the local community.
Thanks go to Pete Waddington and Kate Bradley for arranging this group meeting and to all the pupils of Wadebridge school who took part in this discussion. We will be keen to have some of the students come along to the Energy Equality Project Launch on 16th April at the town hall. Walk-in from 2.30pm and see displays and discuss all things renewable energy with our project partners prior to a presentation with questions and answers session at 7pm. It is imperative that we have young voices represented. We will discuss further with the school to see if this is something they might want to be involved with as part of their Climate Change Council and other areas of learning.
Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network
Photo credit: Simon Stuart-Miller | Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN)