Game Jam

Are you looking for a way to inspire curiosity, creativity, collaboration, optimism, and problem-solving skills in your students or youth group? Educational Game Jams do that and more! Games can help address real-world challenges, encourage systems thinking, and promote active engagement, making them particularly well suited to conservation education.

The 2020-2021 Game Jam focused on soil. Teams were encouraged to incorporate field investigation data and observations, online data resources, and investigations in a new game idea. Learn more about Game Jam and award winners on this dedicated site.

Educators/leaders registered teams of 2-5 students in two age categories (Grades 3-5 and 6-8). Games can be either analog or digital. See rubric here. Teams learned about soil, worked individually or in groups to create and test a game to help learn about soil. Teams submitted completed games and descriptions for review.

game boardThank you to our sponsors, committee members, and judges!


  • Iowa Conservation Education Coalition
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
  • Iowa Project WILD

Game Jam Committee

  • Patrick Chase, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Barb Gigar, Iowa DNR
  • Julie McMichael, NRCS
  • Jerry Neppel, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS)
  • Peg Steffen, NOAA, NASA, Contractor


  • Alex Martin, Iowa DNR
  • Amie Davidson, Iowa DNR
  • Barb Gigar, Iowa DNR
  • Jerah Sheets, Iowa DNR
  • Jerry Neppel, IDALS
  • Lori McDaniel, Iowa DNR
  • Peg Steffen, NOAA, NASA, independent consultant