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WaterLife: Where Rivers Meet the Sea

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WaterLife: Where Rivers Meet the Sea

Oscar the Otter

Meet Oscar, the talking sea otter. Students playing the WaterLife game help Oscar save the estuary that is his home.

Want to learn about estuaries and the threats that endanger them AND have some fun? Check out NOS’s new educational online game: “WaterLife: Where Rivers Meet the Sea.”

Developed through a partnership with Montgomery (Maryland) College’s Computer Gaming and Simulation program, the WaterLife game provides science instruction for students at the fourth through seventh grade levels using a series of challenges and the collection of “knowledge power.”

Students join a young girl named Valerie, Oscar the (talking) sea otter, and the Claminator, a geoduck clam, on a journey to save an estuary on the west coast of the United States. Along the way, players learn about the factors that produce healthy estuaries and food webs and why estuaries are essential to both ocean life and to humans.

The game also provides an opportunity to learn about our nation’s biologically rich and economically important estuaries and about NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System, a network of 27 estuarine areas established for long-term stewardship, research, and education.

The Oracle talks to Valerie and Oscar

While playing the WaterLife game, students encounter a range of characters, such as the Oracle. Part giant turtle, part maternal mystic, the Oracle is Valerie's guide on her quest.

Players tackle trash clean-up, remove obstructions in waterways, replant the habitat to bring back food webs, and battle pollution monsters to restore Oscar’s home.  The game includes many links to resources and a comprehensive field guide that students refer to during the game to gain knowledge power.

WaterLife is part of a newly launched online “planet arcade” – Games @ NOAA – which is a portal to a variety of games and interactive activities that highlight the science and the activities of NOAA and NOAA’s partners.