Presented By CyGames
Selene: a lunar construction game

Lunar Videogames Bring Science to Life for Students

Date Posted: Thu Oct 21 2010

By Keri Brown
West Virginia Public Radio

Drs. Wood & Reese Chuck Wood and Debbie Denise Reese are using their lunar science research to create educational videogames for children and adults.
Photo credit: Keri Brown

The Center for Educational Technologies at Wheeling Jesuit University is using its research into lunar science to develop educational video games for children. The games let students build, explore, and conduct their own experiments to learn more about the Moon.

The Center for Educational Technologies research into cyber-based learning is developing a better understanding of how students learn in virtual worlds and game-based instructional environments.

Selene: A Lunar Construction GaME is designed for people ages 9 and up and is a single-player game.

"What we have done," said Debbie Denise Reese, senior researcher at the center, "is taken scientist Chuck Wood's knowledge of how the Moon formed and changed over time, what's invisible inside his head, and transformed that into a concrete game world that players can interact with. Our players actually form the Earth's Moon and then they pepper it with impact craters and flood it with lava flows."

Students learn several science-related concepts while playing Selene. Reese recently tested the game with some Ohio County students.

"I kind of like shooting the asteroids," said Carla Nelson, a seventh-grader at Triadelphia Middle School. "It is a lot of fun. You learn things about the density and the heat and radiation. Very educational."

Another educational game that the Center for Educational Technologies is producing is called MoonWorld. In MoonWorld players can work independently or in groups to explore and conduct their own research as astronauts.

"We have programmed certain goals that we want students in their avatar uniform to try to achieve, but the way they achieve those is up to them," said Chuck Wood, director of the center. "For example, if they want to walk over to this impact crater in the background to examine it and to make observations there, they can do that. If they want to go over to that site, they can do it, so there is choice as to how they conduct their learning."

MoonWorld has been available online to those 18 and older for about a year. . . .
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