Climate Cops

Website review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
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Product no longer available

Charged graphics lack real punch

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What parents need to know

Climate Cops is a glitzy yet sparse energy resources site sponsored by the UK power company Npower. Though support has been dropped for the teacher's zone resources, families will benefit a bit from the No Power Hour videos and activity ideas. Parents can rest easy about safety since there are no accounts, logins, or passwords to wrangle with.

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What's it about?

Three cool characters and a Polar bear accompany kids through game-based missions, downloadable goodies like door hangers and info sheets, Mark and Sam videos about No Power Hour activities, and . . . that's it. The first mission involves mouse clicking to hammer down power switches but scoring enough to move on to the next two missions is impossible. The teacher's zone describes great free resources but the order link is broken and the existing "tasters" are just frustrating without the full packet.

Is it any good?

Climate Cops won three industry awards in 2008 but the impetus for continued support seems to have disappeared. Kids, parents, and teachers will find a few cool ideas — especially for No Power Hour activities — but also frustration. High energy graphics mask sparse content and a game that is too difficult yet boring. Holding the mallet over the power buttons should be simple but the control is so poor, it's quite tricky. Ten tries never generated a score good enough or even a hope of moving on to the next two (maybe that's where the connection to the title is made).

The non-renewable and renewable resources handouts are slick in the Teacher's Zone, but parents and teachers will have to create their own accompaniments since lesson plans are missing. Kids have to read a lot of low contrast text with little meat and the educational message is mostly buried. Sam and Mark are very cute but their efforts don't lead to a ton of actual learning.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Hold some family No Power Hours by getting outside for frisbee, soccer, or biking excursions.

  • Have a deeper discussion about renewable resources: What makes them so important?

  • Enjoy the cute videos by Mark and Sam then spark a family video project about saving energy.

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