Since 2006, Dutch primary schools have been required to teach their students ‘active citizenship’. But explaining why democracy works the way it does and what participation implies seems quite a grown-up topic. Lisa Hu has designed a serious game to engage children in this subject, based on ‘learning by doing’. With ‘Terra Nova’ they get to govern their own mini-society on an uninhabited island. During their adventure, they face the challenges of several moral dilemmas. Are they willing to share their land with newcomers? Would they risk infection by taking care of a sick group member? Tested by teachers and children, Terra Nova successfully links exciting game events to serious real-life issues.
Photo by Mischa Haller