Teach science with video games

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The team of researchers and game developers were able to create a 3D world where you learn by doing, where your knowledge has real consequences within the simulation. After playtests with pupils, Stegman was able to show that pupils who played Immune Attack (the game developed before Immune Defence) scored significantly better on a related multiple-choice test as well as having improved confidence in the subject compared to those who played unrelated video games. Is there a way to harness the engagement experienced while gaming to learn scientific principles, to actively learn as you play?  Melanie Stegman and her team at Molecular Jig Games think so. After achieving a PhD in biochemistry and studying tuberculosis, Stegman decided that she wanted to step away from the lab and develop new methods of science engagement. In her head she saw similarities between how cells function and video game mechanics. After joining the team at Molecular Jig Games, Stegman started working on Immune Defence, a game which takes inspiration from the films Fantastic Voyage and Innerspace, where the player captains a ship that travels around a human body, helping the host survive a biological attack using biochemistry.

Does this mean that pupils may be assigned a video game as homework in the future? Maybe… some popular games do help players think laterally, that have some science in them, but learning is rarely a mission objective. Do the games developed by Molecular Jig have the potential to be anyone’s first choice to play, probably not; how can they compete with mainstream titles that have millions spent on them. But, for pupils who learn better by doing, these games could provide an engaging alternative to sitting in a classroom. sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/06/210603171127.htm

• Due to the fishing industry, whales are significantly smaller than they used to be in the 1980s. Researchers from the New England Aquarium and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution studied the health of North Atlantic whales with the help of drone technology, and found that modern whales are expected to grow to a metre less in length than their relatives in the 1980s would have. The researchers suggest that this development is caused by a greater risk of getting tangled in fishing nets, and suspect this effect extends to other marine species. • The Vietnamese snack Nem Chua consists of fermented, raw pork. New research on the bacteria that makes the meat safe to consume uncooked showed that this bacteria can be used to keep away a number of food borne pathogens, and could potentially replace other commonly used food preservatives.

Sound bites This article was adapted from an interview for the EU-funded project ResBios; Grant number 872146.

For more science news, listen to Radio Mocha on Radju Malta and www.fb.com/RadioMochaMalta/ sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/06/210607084619.htm

• In the last 2,000 years Malta had 11 different rulers, finally gaining independence in 1964. • Sneezing is not a symptom of the COVID-19 disease. Did you know?

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