STEM Activities with Cities: Skylines

STEM Activities with Cities: Skylines

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Here's a universal truth for you: you can never have too much great STEM education in the classroom.

It isn’t too hard to come up with engaging and educational science or even math projects, but mixing concepts together in a way that makes sense for students can get a little tricky sometimes. So, if you are looking for an easy, seamless way to combine science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the classroom, we've got one! Cities: Skylines, Paradox Interactive's awesome city building game, 
provides a natural blend of all these crucial themes, and more.

Read on for our ideas on how to utilize the game in your STEM classes!

Cities: Skylines - Education Edition

How exactly does water flow and how does its currents change when dams are built? How can we prepare for natural disasters and what kind of impact do they have? These are just some of the scientific phenomena that your students get to experience as the mayor of their very own city in Cities: Skylines.

If you want your students to study land planning, understand famous cities or their home a little better and construct scientifically-sound infrastructure, this is the game for your classroom. What’s more, the game also allows the students to tackle existing cities with built-in scenarios, resolving issues such as pollution, overcrowding and excessive use of natural resources.

Cities: Skylines - Education Edition


Cities: Skylines is full of interesting and groundbreaking technological innovations, some that are even beyond the reach of even the wealthiest real cities at this point. Students get to construct advanced green technology, such as solar plants, hydroelectric dams and wind turbines. If they want to go fully green, even more advanced options exist: geothermal plants that reach deep into the core of the earth to collect energy, floating garbage collectors that purify waters of human waste and fully autonomous, self-sufficient buildings.

Just like real mayors, students must balance the needs and the material costs of building these advanced, revolutionary technological wonders. With sufficient planning and progress, students get the chance to build utopia projects, monumental advancements that will gradually turn your city into a science-powered wonderland.

Cities: Skylines - Education Edition

The bigger the city, the bigger its problems. Nowhere is this more evident than with traffic, which slowly morphs from quaint country roads into hellish gridlocks infested with traffic jams as a town grows into a city. The solution is smart urban planning, efficient engineering and understanding what makes a city tick.

Just like in real life, the secret to building an efficient road network in Cities: Skylines is providing services at regular intervals and heavy use of public transportation. A subway system allows hundreds of citizens to get to work without causing any kind of traffic problems whatsoever. Not enough? Construct a monorail, a blimp system or even a train network. Every manner of public transportation is available for students to design and implement.

Cities: Skylines - Education Edition


Every city is powered by money collected from citizens through taxation. Real-life budgeting is never easy, and neither is it for students playing Cities: Skylines. There are endless needs to fulfill with a limited budget. Will you invest into healthcare? A new bus service? Or will you construct a direct road to the highway for your booming industrial zones? Not only are these challenges engaging and realistic, they are a good representation of real-life economics and mathematics.

Students get to use a budgeting panel that allows them to control the funding of city services, taxation of specific locales and loaning money to fill empty city coffers. The only way students will be able to thrive is by carefully comparing needs with available resources. Success is not guaranteed and natural disasters can throw curveballs into the mix, making for challenging situations.

Where to Start

A game as complex as Cities: Skylines can seem a bit daunting for newcomers. There is no reason to worry, however: TeacherGaming Desk offers a superb introduction to the game, with an in-game, step-by-step tutorial coming in a future update. What’s more, our version of the game comes with 8 ready-to-go lesson plans!

If you’re a teacher, book a free tutorial session with us to try out 
Cities: Skylines out for free!