Game for Science

Posted at http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=2327


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What it is: Game for Science has to be one of the coolest virtual worlds for kids. This virtual world is dedicated to getting kids excited about science and technology. Students can explore various virtual islands where they will learn about health, aeronautics, genomics, environment, engineering and more. Students can learn more about science careers, what scientists do, play games, learn interesting facts, and explore science photos and videos. Students can play the Game for Scienceas a tourist without registering, or they can register for an account (this requires an email address with confirmation). This is an outstanding way for kids to get excited about science and technology. As students travel through the virtual world, they can collect neurons (smart stars) by answering questions and playing games. The neurons can be used to purchase items for their avatar.
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How to integrate Game for Science into the classroom: Game for Science is a great way to introduce new science topics or areas of science. The virtual world will capture interest and keep students wanting to learn more about each topic. If you teach younger students (without email addresses), visit the virtual world as a class on the interactive whiteboard or the projector. Give each student a turn to direct the journey through Game for Science. The rest of the class can jot down observations in a science notebook that can be used in later learning and experiments. Students who can read independently can visit the site individually on classroom computers as a science center or in a computer lab setting. Older students can register for an account and earn neuron points for their characters. This is a fun site for students just to explore and interact with; however, for use in the classroom, you can direct students to specific islands to study. For example, as you begin a unit on the environment, students can visit the corresponding island. Game for Sciencemakes for a great jumping off point that will grab students attention and interest in the subject they will be learning about.
Tips: There is a chat feature on the registered version of Game for Science, this allows students to interact as they discover new islands and talk science.
foot_game.pngFootGaming is the exciting new way to add great physical activity to computer game or learning time. All you need is a footpowr peripheral. FootPOWR can do anything a mouse can do - you simply stand on the pad and use your feet to move the cursor or give keyboard input. It's easy to move to the rhythm of fun and "play with your feet!"



Bang! is small first person shooter that forces the player to review the fictive history of their victim. I constructed a collection of narratives from a photographic montage. The montages interrupt gameplay unnervingly. For more information and a sample feel free to follow either link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7jbfRdiX1Q&feature=related
http://www.criticalgameplay.com/


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Games for Change seeks to harness the extraordinary power of video games to address the most pressing issues of our day, including poverty, human rights, global conflict and climate change. We are a voice for the transformative power of video games, bringing together organizations and individuals from the nonprofits sector, journalism, academia, industry and the arts, to grow the community and provide a platform for the exchange of ideas. Through this work, Games for Change promotes new kinds of video games that engage contemporary social issues in meaningful ways to foster a more just, equitable and tolerant society.

Real Lives 2010 from http://www.educationalsimulations.com/ .
In the set-up, you can select the types of challenges that students will face (including all kinds of ethical, physical, poverty-related, etc. challenges).



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external image moz-screenshot.jpgWelcome to FreeRealms! Free Realmsis a fun, whimsical virtual world filled with dynamic gameplay and compelling content for everyone, especially families.

Do what you want to do, when you want to do it, in a 3D world of lush landscapes and fun wildlife. Teach your pet new tricks, explore a lush new world, earn great items through quests or play fun mini-games. If adventuring is more your style, become a wizard and search for lost treasure or fight monsters in a mix of real-world experiences and fantasy adventure. With regular content updates and special events scheduled, it’s time to discover the delights of Free Realms!

Developed by Sony, you can be assured that the site is a good one. With parent controls, restricted chat and forums, schools and families are well catered for.
An attractive and engaging site that enables families to play together.



The History Canada Game

· From their website: "The History Canada Game lets you relive, replay and even rewrite Canada’s history. Play as the English to expand your empire. Play as the Huron to defend your homeland. Wage wars, make peace and explore new lands...the future of Canadian history is in your hand."

Hurricane Katrina: Tempest in Crescent City

· From their website: "During the 2007-2008 school year, Global Kids Youth Leaders at Canarsie High School, Brooklyn selected the topic of Hurricane Katrina and worked with game developers Digital Creations to create Hurricane Katrina: Tempest in Crescent City. The web-based game recognizes local heroes that emerged during the disaster while educating its players about the essentials of disaster readiness."
Making History - The Calm and the Storm
o From their website: "Open-ended strategy game allows students to engage with the challenges of World War II.6 game scenarios, each starting at a decisive moment in WWII history, focus student experiences on critical events. Single player and multi-player options bring flexibility and varied game experiences.

Cosmic Quest

From their Website: What is it? Living in Space is an online game which explores the idea of living in space. What do humans need in order to live in this hostile environment? What do we need to work and thrive in space? By designing a space station, you (the user or the student)] examines a series of problems: How will you breathe?

Debt Ski - A Personal Finance Game

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Debt Ski is a fun game (if you enjoyed late 80's - early 90's video games) for learning about personal finance. The object of the game is to accumulate as much savings and as little debt as possible. Players choose one of three lifestyle objectives "thrifty," "average," or "big spender." After choosing an objective players have to, in a Mario Brothers-style, accumulate coins and necessities while avoiding unexpected expenses.

Applications for Education
Debt Ski is a fun way for students to learn the basics of personal finance. The game is likely to keep students engaged for a long periods of time. I played the game a few times then had to force myself to stop before I really got sucked in to playing for hours. The game was designed by MTV Networks and is appropriate for use in middle school, high school, and college settings.

Multimedia Business Simulation

JA Titan is a marvelous multimedia business simulation that is great for higher level business English students or other business students.
It's a kind of variation on the Lemonade Stand game, but with lots more bells and whistles.

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external image titan.jpg
You get audio reports from your staff, who you can hire and fire, with tips and advice that you can either take or ignore. You can also listen to news reports and check out report data. Your staff will also help you with some analysis of the data.

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Cyber Nations seems to have taken that game one step further and created an online simulation which students can play over a period of time. Actually 'one step further' is a bit of an understatement, as once players have created their nation and started to develop it and decide on the budget, taxes and governmental policies etc. they are then launched into competition with other nations that other players have created.
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They have the chance to develop alliances, form trade partnerships and even attack or aid other countries.


Power up is an educational computer game based around the concept of helping students to understand the need for clean energy. It takes the scenario of a planet ( set in the future) which needs rescuing.
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external image powerup2.gif
The game looks and feels convincing and has some nice collaborative game play thrown in with some blasting of alien beasts. Students can play it alone or in multi-player mode. They are assigned missions that they have to complete and there is even use of some text to speech.

Online Water Conservation Game

Educational games seem to be getting much better these days and Catchment Detox is a great example of that. It's an online game which you can play in the browser without any software downloads. It has similar gameplay to something like Zoo Tycoon, with students making budgeting decisions and deciding what areas to develop each year for 50 years.
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Students have to manage a catchment area, protect the environment, develop the agricultural resources and balance this against conserving water and water quality.

There's a good video demo here showing how it's done: How to play

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Wonderland Virtual World and MMORPG

Wonderland looks like a great free online role playing game for younger students. The game is based around the story of some travelers who become shipwrecked and have to survive by doing various tasks, quests and challenges. The graphics look like the typical Japanese manga cartoons which are so popular with kids and teens.

What I really like about this is that the 'things to do' type quests and challenges are already there and built in so , unlike virtual worlds like Second Life and There.com you and your students don't have to think up things to do.

I think this is really good motivating game to get students using English to solve problems and work collaboratively. If you can get your students hooked on a game like this they'll do the learning for themselves.

On the negative side, they will need to download the software and that's over 500Mb, so they'll need broadband and a reasonably up to date computer. The game is also quite complex and I can't find any information regarding minimum ages for registration.

That said, if your students are keen gamers and have an intermediate level of English or higher and you want to motivate them to work on their own, this could be a wonderful tool for getting them to do that.


Multi Player Vocabulary Revision

Hunam Brain Cloud is an online multiplayer game I spotted some time back. It's a cross between a word association game and visual thesaurus. Students see a word and type in a word they associate with this word and submit it. They can continue with this for as long as they like, or they can check out the other words that other users have associated with the word.

Human Brain Cloud: Play
Human Brain Cloud: Play

Human Brain Cloud: Play


As they play students help to build up the thesaurus of words too, and there is also a simple search to help them look up words.




The StockNews Game

This is a great game for business students if the level of their English is quite good. The game works in three steps.
  • User reads a business news report on a company
  • User predicts whether the companies stock will go up or down as a result of the news
  • User wins or looses points as a result of their prediction

The reading part is timed so it'll force your students to do some skimming and scanning and make decisions based on that information. The level is quite high though, but for developing business vocab and as a spring board to some discussion this is a definite winner.


Play the stock news game - StockNewsGame - rate real financial news and learn how to beat the market
Play the stock news game - StockNewsGame - rate real financial news and learn how to beat the market

Play the stock news game - StockNewsGame - rate real financial news and learn how to beat the market


You can keep playing for as long as you like and try to win back any losses or build up your fortune. If you register, your efforts are recorded and you can try to make it onto the top scorers board.


Eco City Game

ElectroCity is an interesting online game designed for education. It's based around the SimsCity principle and users have to try to build a financially viable eco city where all the inhabitants can also be happy.
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external image finishedCities.gif

As I said the game was designed for education and there's a very handy teachers section with some downloadable worksheets. The producer put the level of the game at 7 - 9 year olds, but if you were using this with non English speakers for language development I think you could use it with any aga range and there would still be a good deal of motivation to try it.

There's also a downloadable version of the game for those with slower connections and wonder of wonders there is both a PC and a MAC version. It's quite a small download too ( 1 - 2 Mb). You can find these in the teachers' resources section.

You can also have a look at some of the cities other players have created.

If you register you can also enter your students in a competition to win a prize for the best designed city and students can keep track of how well there city is doing.

Personal finance game called MoneyU. You can check it out at www.moneyu.com.

Modern Electronics that teaches kids about managing a retail business and includes budgeting for advertising, pricing, financing inventory, etc. It can be downloaded from http://www.garybhirsch.com/k-12.html
Gazillionaire by Lavaminds is pretty good. You can try it at http://www.lavamind.com/gaz.html. It's an oldy, but a goody.

Trade Ruler

The Heckscher-Ohlin trade theory is about how two countries can get greater gains from trading with each other if they have different resources – one have more labor and the other have more capital (that is technical equipment and machinery)



Control of the Cell Cycle

The cell cycle is the series of events that take place as the cells grow and divide. In average this process takes about 24 hours for cells in mammals.


Planet Green Game

Starbucks and Global Green USA collaborated on the Planet Green Game to educate the public about climate change through engaging and informative game play while encouraging individuals to become part of the solution in their own lives. The game also assists individuals - through simple tools and links - in advocating action by elected officials, business and community leaders.


Play Games: Become an Engineer

If you have an interest in becoming an engineer or know someone who does. Or if you just like designing vehicles, bridges, buildings, consumer electronics, then there are a lot of really great games for you to check out. Here are a few.

Coconut Run

external image coconut+run.JPGThe Coconut Run Challenge is Issued.
In this game, your job is to design a cart to transport coconuts over a rough and tumble terrain to a coconut shredder. You design the shape, size and other attributes of the vehicle. Check out Coconut Run when you have a lot of time to devote to building a better coconut cart. You might also want to check out the Particle Pro game at the site as well.


Edheads': Design a Cell Phone

external image edheads_phone.JPGScreen for designing the ideal cell phone.

From Edheads's here is another great example. Design a cell phone. In the game you have to consider design parameters like cost, target market and functionality. You then design the phone by selecting different functions which each have a cost associated with them. You have to pick correctly or you end up over budget or with features your target audience doesn't want. Once you design it, you can conduct a focus group meeting and even view sales results. This is a great game for thinking about design parameters, trade offs and designing for a specific audience.

West Point Bridge Design Contest

external image not0046.jpgTesting the bridge.

This software can be used in a national contest sponsored by West Point. The downloadable software introduce the player to engineering through an authentic, hands-on design experience. The software provides the tools to model, test, and optimize a steel highway bridge, based on realistic specifications, constraints, and performance criteria. Once you have your bridge built, you can drive a truck across and see how it holds up.


The Brain Strainer

external image brain+strain.JPGA machine that doesn't quite launch the rocket.

So you think you can be a rocket scientist? This game lets you build a machine (like mousetrap) that helps you launch a rocket. You need to consider simple machine parts and how different materials react to different surfaces. Give The Brain Strainer a shot and launch to the moon.