Game Exploring Phytoplankton As a STEM-to-STEAM Research Subject
Phyto Heroes is a game about phytoplankton, tiny creatures invisible to the human eye that make half of the world’s oxygen while also feeding the ocean’s creatures. Through simple touch activities, children in grades 3–5 learn how their everyday actions, such as turning off the lights, can affect carbon levels, pH balance, and temperature, which must remain in a delicate balance for phytoplankton—and the ocean as a whole—to survive. The game is supplemented with 10 free lesson plans that are designed to work within national science standards and can easily be downloaded and printed as PDFs. The goal of the game is to illustrate how environmental factors such as pH, temperature, and nitrogen levels affect the ocean, and how phytoplankton play an important role in supporting life on Earth. The Phyto Heroesapp for iOS is the result of a collaborative project of the Coaction Lab at University of Maine; Openlab Research at University of California, Santa Cruz; and Epsilon/Alliance Data. Future plans include releasing an Android version of the game later in the fall, as well as extending into a variety of other algae-based organisms at a variety of scales, with additional games and lesson plans to the system. Cost: Free
Each month we publish blogs and newsletters full of digital learning, funding, professional growth, social media, and STEM resources. Below are items from our blogs and newsletters that educators turned to the most in May.
Games are microcosms of the real world, making play and design a springboard for possibility. The Game Design Studio Toolkit supports teens in using game design to lead systems of change, engaging teens in individual and collective reflection and action as they create their own games.
Killer Snails creates immersive games that inspire a love of science. The games are built by scientists and backed by science. The company’s mission is to create the next generation of changemakers and to bring science out of the laboratory and into the hands of learners.