Mindset Works wanted to increase the appeal of science by making the skill sets needed for good science accessible and fun.
With Mindset Works, our goal was to work together to create a game that made science feel fun and approachable to an elementary school audience. There are a plethora of soft skills associated with best practices in science education, as reinforced by the common core. By encouraging soft skills in the scientific setting and allowing kids to see the practical applications of science, the field would become much more appealing at a critical age.
The Audience: Students ages 10-12
The Goal: Motivate the growth of good science skills and make science feel applicable and appealing.
GameTheory has been working with Mindset Works on the SciSkills project for almost two years. It has been an exciting process involving a number of versions, iterations, and designs.
We began by working with the Mindset Works team to create a simple prototype of one game that would ultimately belong to a suite of mini-games within a larger game context. This game was done quickly, within a month, and taken to schools for testing and evaluation. Based on what we learned from this testing we planned out the larger scale game with multiple types of interactions and a plot to weave the activities together.
The game we developed was based around the concept of a team of scientific explorers traveling to new planets to solve scientific mysteries. The initial game was focused on solving the mystery of why the native bird population had begun to fight in the wild. We created two different possible reasons: hunger and stress. When the game begins it randomly selects one of those scenarios and the specifics about your experience change to support that condition.
We have worked with the Mindset Works team through three rounds of game development, feedback from a testing group of students, redesigns and adjustments based on that feedback, and iteration on the design based on that feedback. It's been exciting to watch the game evolve over time, balancing the challenge of good science education and an engaging game experience for the target market.
Balance of Game Tools
SciSkills continues to evolve and grow. The game currently continues to be tested with student group populations, and evolved upon based on feedback.