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Dr John Nietfeld | jlnietfe@ncsu.edu

Primary Objective

A primary goal of science education is to encourage self-regulatory skills that enable learners to comprehend complex science text. This project brings together an interdisciplinary research team from Educational Psychology, Elementary Science Education, Design, and Instructional Technology. 

Students will use self-regulatory strategies, such as comprehension monitoring in order to understand scientific text.

Students will engage in mini-games where they will practice strategies such as highlighting main ideas, identifying expert summaries, answering content questions presented by characters, and providing accurate confidence judgments. Students will reflect on each mini-game with the help of metered feedback and feedback from characters in the game.

The curriculum taught during this program is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and

the Essential Standards for Science in North Carolina.

Upon entering the game, students will be greeted with a very important message. Monty the monitor lizard, the head of Wildlife University (WU), has left a tablet explaining the current state of an epidemic sickness of WU students and faculty. Monty believes that he is on to a solution, but needs your help putting together the pieces. You're directed to go straight to Monty's office to receive further instructions. The office is a mess, and Monty is nowhere to be found. Only a note has been left.











Fortunately, Monty has a bracelet containing GPS coordinates to his location. 

It is now your job to travel through the rainforest, savanna, and ocean collecting information to help save Monty. With the completion of each set of mini-games and one final challenge per area, a coordinate is unlocked. Finding Monty and helping cure the sick animals is of upmost importance and

only you can help. 

Mission Journal - The Mission Journal is a tool that collects the information from the student such as their highlights and summaries. At any point during the game a student can go back and reference the information stored in their mission journal.

The final two Missions will require students to use argumentation skills in a game-based context using evidence and understanding that they have gathered and tracked in their Mission Journal throughout the game.

Training Camp - After the students complete the training activities, they begin their actual missions that consist of mini-game challenges. Students can call upon the help of a training professor when they find themselves in need of help. Characters will provide
training and scaffolding to promote science knowledge, strategy use, and motivation within a narrative framework.

Metered Feedback - Students will be able to reflect on their progress based on metered feedback after interacting with each passage. This feature will help determine whether the student needs to re-evaluate their decisions in the respective mini-games. If the student meets the passing threshold for each meter (strategy, monitoring, and comprehension) they will be able to move on to the final challenge that will require the use of knowledge across multiple sources that they have encountered. 

Before taking part in the actual challenges, students will have the opportunity to practice the strategies necessary to complete the game. There are four separate areas that the students will be trained in: highlighting, summarization, calibration, and multiple source comprehension. Each training session is led by a different WU professor, and each professor will be available during their respective mini-game challenges to provide the student with help and guidance. 


Students will be presented with a variety of passages where they will be asked to highlight the most important sentences. The number of sentences allowed to be saved will vary by passage. 


The emphasis is on being selective and focusing on in-game goals. 

The highlighted information is saved to the student's Mission Journal, and it will be accessible during their summary writing and mini-game challenges. 


After the highlighting mini-game, students will be asked to type summaries constrained by word length (to encourage precision – 200
characters no spaces). The summary will subsequently be saved into the Mission Journal. 

A WU professor will then ask the student to review up to 5 pre-written summaries, and to select the best one.

The correct answer is provided and points are awarded for selecting the best summary and less points awarded for lower quality summaries.


Following questions from game characters related to the passages during the Knowledge Challenge and the summary selection described above, students will engage in the Monitoring Challenge. During this challenge students will make confidence judgments for items on a 1-00 scale. 

Students will be given feedback on the accuracy of their judgments and be able to reflect on this information via metered feedback.

Multiple Source Comprehension 

After completing each mini-game and also at the end of each Mission, students will have Multiple Source challenges where they have to understand and integrate information presented in texts, diagrams, charts, and images. 

Students will be allowed to use the information stored in the Mission Journal to complete the final challenge.

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