Big Deal Media

K-12 Technology

Sep 15, 2020 2020-09-15

Mobile Learning

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 Heroes app 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

Gamification/Game-Based Learning STEM • STEAM • STREAM Science Technology

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