Tag Archives: video game


NUI-Torcs for Numerical Methods

NIU-Torcs is a rare example of a college-level mathematics game that allows for deeper learning within the game. Brianno Coller and colleagues developed the game through an NSF grant to help their mechanical engineering students learn numerical methods (Coller & Scott 2009). Students begin the game by learning how to code acceleration and steering using the programming language C++.  They then move to making the car move fast without skidding off the road, by calculating numerical roots, solving systems of linear equations, and doing curve fitting and simple optimization. The authors report that students are motivated to keep trying far more than when given these types of problems as meaningless homework exercises. Concept maps produced by the students in both the game-based and traditional classes showed that although measures of low-level knowledge were statistically identical, students in the game-based class had much greater levels of deep thinking, which included being able to compare and contrast methods and link concepts together.  In addition, student attitudes about the class had changed – they were more engaged, and more able to recognize the value of the mathematics they were doing. http://www.ceet.niu.edu/faculty/coller/more_information.htm


Ko’s Journey

Ko’s Journey is a math game for middle schoolers. In it, players follow the adventures of a girl who has been separated from her family and must travel across the wilderness. Along the way, she must solve problems using mathematics, including finding the correct proportion of medicinal plants to save a wolf cub, and the correct angle to shoot her arrows. Identity and intrinsic mathematics are key components of the game, and the game tells an absorbing story, which is a component of game play that some theorists feel is essential to deeper learning. http://www.kosjourney.com/

Mission US

Mission US is a multimedia project featuring free interactive adventure games set in different eras of U.S. history. The first game, Mission 1: “For Crown or Colony?,” puts the player in the shoes of Nat Wheeler, a 14-year-old printer’s apprentice in 1770 Boston. As Nat navigates the city and completes tasks, he encounters a spectrum of people living and working there when tensions mount before the Boston Massacre.  Ultimately, the player determines Nat’s fate by deciding where his loyalties lie.

Mission 2, “Flight to Freedom,” which focuses on resistance to slavery, will launch in fall of 2011.