Prasanth Nori

September 11, 2019

Prasanth Nori is staying with the lab after his Summer Journeyer experience as an Implementation Co-lead for PJL’s work in India. Before this, he led implementation and partnerships efforts for Meghshala, a leading ed-tech non-profit in India, was an elementary school teacher, and co-founded Dramebaaz, an initiative that uses theater as a tool to build essential life-skills in at-risk students across India.

During the summer, Prasanth helped out with our Beyond Rubrics project by preparing materials for the Teacher PD in Hong Kong. He also began planning Year 2 of the Thrifty Makerspaces Project which he will continue to work on back in Bangalore. For his independent project, he embarked on a grueling but rewarding journey through game design (also see: growth mindset!). These photos show the array of prototypes he built and the twists and turns he took during the design process. And below is the final version of the game, ready to be played and remixed!

Smoke on the Water

Smoke on the Water is a classroom role playing game that enables middle and high school students to think critically about sustainable development. They take on the role of various stakeholders combatting an urban environmental disaster. Through a combination of strategic decision making, negotiations and research they must navigate a complex issue in a limited time.


In 2015, one of Bangalore, India’s largest lakes, the Bellandur Lake caught fire. The fire reportedly burned for hours and needed the effort of thousands of people to extinguish. This incident brought national attention to the lake. After a massive public outcry thanks to extensive media spotlight, the government made many reassurances. 

In 2018, the lake again caught fire. As of 2019, the lake continues to be extremely polluted with minimal if any efforts to repair the damage to the lake. 

There are thousands of lakes, rivers and water-bodies across the world that are either critically polluted or on the verge of it like this one.

Character Cards (pdf download)

Game Instructions

Playful Journey Connection

Smoke on the Water is an example of two things we value at the Playful Journey Lab. One is practicing what we preach in terms of building skills through authentic projects that are personally meaningful. The other is giving learners open-ended environments with no identified solution, in which they can build and demonstrate future-ready skills such as systems thinking, negotiation, and agency. We think it’s important to have assessment frameworks that can help young people recognize these skills in games and in life!