NYSCI educators will be testing three educational games this June and July. Produced by SciPlay, NYSCI’s Sara Lee Schupf Family Center for Play, Science, and Technology Learning, the games will be prototyped with middle school students, and will eventually be adapted for use in NYSCI’s Science Playground.
The goal of the games is to have the students use experimentation to understand science concepts such as rotational and linear motion, force, velocity, friction, and kinetic and potential energy. In the Rotational Motion Game, kids explore circular motion by moving a small bowling ball in a circle using a mallet, while a camera and projector track and display the ball’s path. In the Cart Activity Game, students are challenged to create either constant velocity or acceleration by pushing a cart on a linear track. In the Slide Game, light sensors positioned at the top and bottom of a playground slide help calculate each student’s speed down the slide, allowing participants to investigate friction, and kinetic and potential energy.
The three games are part of research about playful learning that is at the core of SciPlay. SciPlay aims to create hands-on experiences that instill an understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The activities created as a result of prototyping sessions and other research at SciPlay will be adapted for use in classrooms and playgrounds throughout the country.
The Design Lab, a project of NYSCI’s Verizon Center for STEM Learning, was profiled in the May 12 edition of Education Daily, a national publication for education professionals and policymakers. Dorothy Bennett, NYSCI’s director of design-based learning in schools, described the Design Lab as “a place where teachers can think outside the box and take some risks” with a goal of getting students engaged with science “in a kinesthetic way.”
Twenty Design Lab Fellows are working now through the summer on developing a suite of educational resources that will be available to teachers beginning in the 2011 – 2012 school year. A second class of Fellows will begin work in the fall.
Learning to love the chaos resulted from a day of prototyping at NYSCI for Brett’s thesis project, SoundStage.
SoundStage is an ambisonic surround sound mixer. By moving objects around the table, users can pan audio around the room and immerse themselves within a soundscape of their own creation.
In collaboration with SciPlay, Brett introduced SoundStage to NYSCI visitors, giving kids and parents an opportunity to put his prototype through its paces.
The outcome? SoundStage has potential for immersive storytelling with older kids. But for preschoolers, what Brett ultimately discovered is that SoundStage creates an environment for a unique sonic experience that leverages kids’ innate curiosity and tendency to play.