Learn about the ideas and methods for urban growing and food preparation at this conceptual winter farmers’ market, December 1, 2012; noon – 4 pm. Traditional market stalls will be filled with hands-on activities, artist projects, demonstrations, and of course, food! Free with NYSCI admission.
New York Hall of Science Teaches Genetics with Video Games
By Christie Rizk on Nov 04, 2012
What can animated creatures teach students about genomics and related scientific concepts? Researchers at the New York Hall of Science’s Sara Lee Schupf Family Center for Play, Science, and Technology Learning (SciPlay for short) aim to find out. In collaboration with scientists at Michigan State University, developers at the Concord Consortium, and designers at Parsons The New School for Design, they’re creating a video game to boost students’ enthusiasm for and understanding of genetics.
GeniGames teaches both research and applied science, says SciPlay Director David Kanter. Four versions of the game will be used in different New York City high school science classes this winter, while SciPlay researchers track which elements contribute to students’ understanding of scientific concepts. “We’re measuring learning, but we’re also measuring a lot of different affective dimensions of learning like motivation, engagement, and emotional state,” Kanter says. “As opposed to taking it for granted that games are great and that everything should be gamified, we’re trying to understand what the value is [and] for whom.”
In GeniGames’ first version, students design and breed their perfect pet lizard as they learn about concepts like meiosis and genetic inheritance. The second version adds a bit of narrative backstory to the game and replaces lizards with dragons, using the same scientific curriculum. The third adds an element of competition by asking students to design dragons for specific tasks such as racing or catching fish. And the fourth adds the element of community: SciPlay will host a competitive tournament among participating classrooms. Underlying the game are sound genetic concepts based on the known genomes of various animals, so it is realistic, Kanter says.
The study is set to end in August 2014. “We have a hypothesis that not all of these gaming elements are across-the-board great for all kids, so we will be looking into our data at the level of individual students to figure out for whom does narrative really work,” Kanter says. Data gathered in the high schools could also help SciPlay and its collaborators to eventually design games for younger children, he adds.
Christie Rizk is a reporter and editor based in New York. She was most recently an assistant editor for GenomeWeb’s Genome Technology magazine, and has worked as a reporter, editor, and producer at Reuters, Thomson Financial, and The Brooklyn Paper.
New York Hall of Science Presents ReGeneration, Opening October 27
Ten artists present their interpretations of cultural sustainability
Queens, N.Y. – ReGeneration, a new exhibition exploring the relationship between sustainability and cultural vitality, opens October 27 at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI). The exhibition includes interactive works by 10 artists that inspire visitors to think about the notion of cultural sustainability through collaborative engagement and futuristic visions built upon the history and traditions of New York’s diverse neighborhoods. The exhibition runs through January 13, 2013.
Despite the near ubiquity of the term “sustainability,” there remains significant ambiguity about everything from the actual meaning of the term to overarching solutions to the challenges we face as a community. Technology and behavioral changes including energy production, agriculture, recycling and pollution reduction are all on the table as we work to understand and address the challenge of sustainability.
“ReGeneration is an exhibition about the future,” says NYSCI president and CEO, Margaret Honey. “We challenged the artists to take inspiration from science and imagine a future where we live sustainably, not just in the foods we eat or the materials we use, but in our fundamental approach to how we view our communities and the interdependence between people and our environment.”
NYSCI is revving up for the next exhibit ReGeneration, with artist Angelo Vermeulen and team building the first part of the window garden for his Biomodd project, right now in NYSCI’s Central Pavilion.
This week, the virtual world that will run on the Biomodd computer network is being developed (above image), and students at Parsons are creating concepts and prototypes for “caretaking robots” as part of the Biomodd Collaboration Studio.
If you want to learn more about Angelo’s project and his work, and you happen to be in the Los Angeles area, he is giving a lecture and demonstration at UCLA tomorrow.
In the meantime, mark your calendars for the long awaited opening of ReGeneration on October 27, 2012, at NYSCI.
The final post in our back-to-school tips for teachers comes courtesy of Scott Wayne Indiana, a Content Developer in NYSCI’s Design Lab:
I taught high school math for ten years and the first day of every class involved very little math. I wanted to get to know the students as individuals, as fellow humans. I wanted to hear from each of them. The seeds for the classroom community were planted and we grew from there.
Our next back-to-school tip for teachers comes courtesy of Deliz Vasquez, a fifth grade teacher in Hunts Point:
One thing which I find very helpful is having a “Best Practice” notebook when I visit classrooms, attend meetings, conferences, or professional development. This way I can implement some strategies in my own classroom.
Week two of the school year! We kick off with another installment of back-to-school tips from teachers for teachers. Today, from Amanda Solarsh, 7th Grade science teacher at Simon Baruch Middle School:
Revamp rules, routines and procedures and rethinking classroom setup to start fresh.