Children sitting in science classes across the nation may soon be able to take virtual trips through the layers of the Earth to see how shifting plates can cause earthquakes, volcanoes and make mountains. It’s all a part of the Science in Motion Project, a new game being developed to help students learn difficult scientific concepts.
The GameDesk Institute has been awarded a $225,000 grant to develop the game-like learning tool as part of the National Academy of Sciences’ Science & Entertainment Exchange. The Exchange, a group of scientists, screenwriters, directors and producers, formed in 2008 to more accurately portray scientists in film and television. The groups’ aims expanded to the classroom after a summit in California earlier this year where scientists met with members of the film and gaming industry, as well as teachers and students to talk about how entertainment could be used as a science learning tool.
“To date there have been very few efforts to create genuine partnerships among the scientific, entertainment, and education communities to develop engaging materials for classroom use,” Ralph J. Cicerone, president, National Academy of Sciences said in a statement. “Our review panel believes that the Science in Motion project is an excellent opportunity to bring together those communities to build a very unique and powerful educational experience.”
Developers of Science in Motion call it a “textbook of the future,” that merges high-quality characterization, storytelling, and game design. Collaborators include: LucasArts Entertainment, The University of Southern California, Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, California Science Teachers of the Year, the New York Hall of Science and Bill Nye “The Science Guy.”