At a touchscreen monitor, visitors learn how nutrients cycle through an ecosystem by playing against known and unforeseen nutrient flows in different scenarios. A large overhead screen encourages onlookers, who are exposed to the educational messaging even though they are not actively engaged in the game. The game includes photographs and videos to enhance the game experience and tie the concepts to the real world.
The game challenges players to manage the flow of nutrients in three different scenarios: a dairy farm, a soybean field and their own backyard, over the course of a single growing season Spring to Fall. Players encounter sudden outflows of nutrients, such as by harvesting of the field or mowing the lawn, and are challenged to choose the best options in order to outwit the persistent flow that removes nutrients from a given ecosystem and keep the Nutrient Cycle in balance.