Our Games. We are working on three molecular biology video games for 5th – 12th grade classrooms. Would you like to help us by testing them with your class? Please sign up using the form on the right side of this page, and check the box for more information for teachers. Thank you very much. Here is a description of the games we are making.
What standards do we touch on? Many! Middle school and High School! Download a PDF of the Next Generation Science Standards and a bit of explanation about how we attempt to address each one. Download NGSS and Immune Defense.
Why make molecular biology games:
We know that misconceptions are hard to “unteach.” So we should present the random behaviors of molecules and the protein dependent behaviors of cells to people as young as possible. We found that using fun games that let people manipulate the molecules and cells imparts an understanding as well as confidence with the abstract concepts of cellular biology. Teachers can build upon the intuitive understanding by explaining the concepts in formal terms.
Here are a few concepts we address:
1. There is more to science than memorizing facts! Everything is not already known. In fact we are the edge of many great discoveries.
2. Science is a puzzle to figure out.
3. Proteins have special shapes that allow them to perform special functions.
4. Proteins/molecules/cells cannot see where they are going. Random processes form a well regulated system, that can easily be upset.
5. Cells in your body have the same DNA but not the same proteins. Because the proteins in each cell are different, each cell’s functions are different.
6. Loss/decrease in concentration of a protein causes loss (or gain) of a particular function.
We plan to create videos for teachers to use in class to refer to the game while speaking about the formal concepts in class. For example, we have created a sample video on the concept of random motion. Random is difficult to understand. It is difficult for us to realize that the cells cannot see the bacteria, and harder perhaps to envision the purple complement factors forming a gradient… But in the game we show an accurate randomly moving cloud of complement proteins and a cell that moves only when it binds to one of those randomly moving complement factors.
A teacher could show the above video in order to introduce the concepts of random motion, diffusion and how cells interact with their environment through receptors. To introduce diffusion, a teacher could use these purple complement proteins as examples. Follow up questions for kids who have played the game–or who just watched this video, are here:
Can you predict where the proteins will be?
Do the proteins always move away from the E coli?
Can we predict which what the cells will move?
We invite teachers to contact us to discuss using our games and our videos as part of your curriculum.