The STEMware™ project brings together collaborators in science and education research, teaching, and industry and incorporates an innovative professional and youth development program to create, implement, and evaluate STEM-based “serious game” software. Scenarios related to modern biology but set in fantasy worlds are developed by educator-student-scientist partners and used to create STEMware™ game-based learning programs. STEMware™ and supplemental curricula will be distributed to afterschool programs, home computers, and school sites worldwide.
In STEMware: Zombie Plague (you can download the game for free), students explore a 3D world where they are responsible for identifying the pathogenic microorganism causing a deadly outbreak and implementing a cure. Although we have chosen to have the symptoms of our fictional disease be zombieism, the science content embedded in the software deals with diagnosis, treatment strategies, and career connections that are applicable to any disease caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. Interactions with characters in-game, introduce students to the variety of career pathways in modern biology along with diagnostic technologies used in the real world. Embedded assessments allow teachers to track student interactions. The completed Zombie Plague (levels 1-7) is now available.
Virtual DNA Fingerprinting Laboratory 3.0
Students are placed in a virtual laboratory where they must utilize molecular biology techniques to solve a forensic mystery. Over the course of seven episodes, students collect evidence, extract DNA, perform a southern blot, use PCR, and finally solve the crime. Usage of the software is free and educators are welcome to install the disks on multiple machines.
Virtual Plant Biotechnology and Genomics 2.0
Virtual Plant Biotechnology and Genomics Laboratory immerses students in five different scenarios. In each case, students research and isolate a gene of interest, transform a virtual plant, and explore the controversial issues surrounding transgenic crops. In addition to gaining familiarity with equipment and techniques in the virtual lab, students are provided with topical readings, and background information.
All games based on the work at pbge.ucdavis.edu is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND. There are resources of career connection for Bio-tech industry too. The website is a valuable resource for high schoolers and teachers.