Presented By CyGames
Selene: a lunar construction game

CyGaMEs Selene and Principal Investigator Reese Featured at DC Makers Faire

Date Posted: Sun Sept 29 2013

Dr. Debbie Denise Reese and the Selene videogame created by her Center for Educational Technologies CyGaMEs project were featured at the first ever Silver Spring Mini Makers Faire, on September 29th. The Faire was hosted by the KID (Kids International Discovery) Museum with the goal of demonstrating “creative and unusual pursuits, in order to inspire others to explore their own curiosity and to make something new and different.” There was also an emphasis placed on exhibits and programs that incorporate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), so the award-winning Selene game fit in perfectly with the Faire’s aim to encourage kids to not only be curious and want to learn, but to engage them in a way that will allow them to think critically.

Reese and Selene appeared at the request of National Science Foundation Senior Program Director (K–12 Education) Dr. Janice Earle. Earle said the Faire offered a good opportunity for Reese to share “the wonderful NSF work she has been engaged in.” Reese was featured as one of four speakers in the Faire’s “Inventor in our Midst” series. She presented about the CyGaMEs approach to designing instructional videogames that modify behavior to cause and measure learning. Dr. Reese translated what scientists think into what game-based discovery learners do. CyGaMEs also ran one of 60 booths throughout the faire, allowing kids to experience for themselves the difference between looking at the moon from the North and South poles, as well as the opportunity to win a Moon Gazer’s Wheel to help them discover where the Moon is in orbit around the Earth. The Faire attracted over 12,000 people from Northern Virginia, Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties in Maryland, and the District of Columbia and was funded by Discovery Communications®, Make:, Google™, among others.

In Selene players learn difficult geological concepts like accretion, differentiation, impact cratering, and volcanism by applying these science concepts to reach the game goal of building the Earth's Moon. Players construct the Moon, then pepper it with impact craters and flood it with lava to experience how our Moon formed and changed over time.

Click here to view the video

Photo Caption: Watch short clip from the introduction to Reese's talk "Inventing the Future: Achievement and Personalization through Instructional Videogames," presented within the Inventors in Our Midst series at the Faire.-Video footage courtesy of Frank La Vigne, Frank's World TV. Used with permission.

The winners of a Moon Gazers' Wheel are:
  • Ben Martin
  • Aimei Chang
  • Alisa Macht
  • Samantha Lemar
  • Noah Goldberg
  • Nishai Pillai
  • Ben Gold
  • Triston DeVarond
  • Lukas O'Boyle
Selene is a project of the Center for Educational Technologies at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W.Va. The game is being used for research in the center’s CyGaMEs project to study how people understand new or unfamiliar concepts and is funded by the National Science Foundation. Students ages 9 and up can play Selene for free, 24/7. Adult recruiters who confirm players' ages, get parental consent and gather other players are always needed to help with the CyGaMEs research. To sign up as a recruiter or play Selene, visit the Selene website and contact

NABE 2013 Booth

Photo Caption: The CyGaMEs Selene expo booth.