educational game with 3 multi-level worlds
Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, a collaborative effort was undertaken to create an educational computer game for children ages 10-14. Faculty at the NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN) in collaboration with Northeastern University game designers and education associates at the Museum of Science Boston, created Geckoman to teach the scientific principles of nanotechnology and help kids differentiate between the nanoscale and the macroscale.
The premise of Geckoman is that through an explosion of an incredible shrinking machine, budding scientist Harold is shrunk to the nanoscale. His lab partner, Nikki, helps him navigate three “worlds”, beginning at the nanoscale and growing slightly larger until returning to normal size. Before exiting each level in all three “worlds”, Harold must also pick up one of Nikki’s notebook pages, which were scattered in the explosion. To help Harold return to normal scale and avoid enemy attack, the notebook pages provide short tips and lessons that are aligned with national and Massachusetts state K-12 science and engineering standards. A movie trailer describes the game’s premise when you start the game.
For a more structured educational use of the game, four lesson plans were developed by school teachers and are available at a web site under the “Teachers” tab, along with additional information to introduce scientific content about nanotechnology that can be used for classroom, home or afterschool instruction.
Girls and boys who have played the game have found it exciting, and showed an increased knowledge of nanoscale concepts. Shown here are Middle School campers from Northeastern University’s Exxon Mobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp (coordinated by the College of Engineering in collaboration with The Center for STEM Education) upon introduction to Geckoman.
To learn more about nanotechnology and find other teaching tools, click on the “Teachers” Tab!