The third game created as a final project by students in BIOL 1300 Intro to Scientific Reseaarch was called “College Life”. It was voted overall “best game” by the majority of class members. This game about the academic climb from entering freshman to graduating senior was created by team members Chris Tatum, Raven Blanchard, Jessika Williams, and Sara Ploetz.
College Life is a multi-player game in which students move around a gameboard based on the McMurry campus map to answer questions from a variety of categories representing the general education requirements for a degree. They must also choose a major where additional questions have to be answered. As they reach milestones in courses completed, they move from freshman to sophomore and up through the classifications until they become seniors. Questions increase in difficulty as one progresses to become a senior. Fine Arts questions might require modeling with clay or signing a song or drawing an object, showing that this is not an ordinary trivia question game. Other categories (History, Science, Humanities, Math, and Business) also used innovative means for challenging students. As seniors, they must answer capstone questions in their major in order to graduate from College Life as the winner.
All students in the class played the three games and rated them on their playability, their conformance to the expected specifications, and their inclusion of elements from the course – use of inductive and deductive logic, cause and effect, repetitive use of the question-test-analysis cycle (the scientific method), and so forth. Students rated it highest in playability and learning curve, in the “fun factor” and in conformance to design specifications laid out beforehand. They felt it was the game “most ready for prime time”, that this game could be refined into a fun game for the whole family and would have a decent chance of being commercialized. Congratulations to these students for creating the winning entry into the game competition for Fall 2010.
During the semester, I often described our approach to learning about how science is done as being a “wax on, wax off” method of teaching solid content and abilities using unconventional methods. The final products of the course – the games just described – demonstrated the approach works surprisingly well. Can’t wait to see what the Spring 2011 class will accomplish!
The first of the BIMS 1300 Intro to Scientific Research games from the fall semester was entitled “The College Experience” (though its name on the game board said “College Life” – there wasn’t enough space to put their TRUE name!). Team members were Devin Munoz, Zach Orosco, Patrick Cheney, Dane Bennett, and Benjamin Prieto.
The College Experience is a multiplayer game that takes players through four years of college and centers on the social aspects of college and how good (and bad) decisions can impact a student’s performance toward graduation and self-esteem. The rather simple game board features a topographical map that symbolizes the journey through four years of college and the hazards along the way. Making good decisions builds self-esteem and making poor choices results in loss of self-esteem cards.
All students in the class played the three games and rated them on their playability, their conformance to the expected specifications, and their inclusion of elements from the course – use of inductive and deductive logic, cause and effect, repetitive use of the question-test-analysis cycle, and so forth. Students from the other groups praised this game for its focus on the social aspects of college and how self-esteem can be affected by, and can in turn influence, decisions made and college performance. Congratulations to this group for their excellent final project.