Blue Apprentice is best used by individual students or, at most, in pairs. Since it's a time-consuming game, it isn't a good replacement for a base curriculum but will reinforce and extend science topics in all areas; the game claims adherence to the NGSS in life, physical, and earth science for students in the third grade and onward. If budgets are tight, one subscription can be purchased for the class or perhaps one per device. The game includes three profiles, so more than one student can play through each installation at a time.
The developer suggests that a future school version of the game will include features such as teacher/student communication, analytics on study patterns, time spent playing, student answers, graphs, and subject matter covered, which would be helpful to track student progress.Continue reading Show less
Blue Apprentice is a subscription-based science adventure for iOS and the web. Players act as Thalo, the last of the Seruleans, who were explorers driven by science in an alien galaxy. Students use a tap-to-move mechanic to move around in the game, as well as tapping and dragging to complete tasks for quests. Thalo has the guidance of Grit, a Chipku who mentors Thalo throughout the adventure. It's their mission to collect a series of Meridians scattered through the galaxy before the evil King Dullard can get to them first. The Meridians are necessary to give Thalo's ship power. Locating and retrieving the Meridians provides a series of hands-on science-based quests such as balancing a food chain or building a liquid oxygen "freeze ray" to combat evil forces.
As Thalo and Grit start their adventure on Serulea, kids begin by learning about physical science concepts, such as using the Periodic Table of Elements to craft new materials, and then move on to other branches of science on other planets. Quizzes and assessments, with immediate feedback, are included in the game for students to show their knowledge before moving on to new levels. Once students progress far enough in the game, they can unlock new, deeper content on already-visited planets. The game includes 21 episodes of gameplay and four open-world sandbox levels.
Acting as Thalo, students go through the same processes that scientists use to investigate scientific ideas. They are taught this sequence of steps: Observe, focus questions, design experiments, gather evidence, make claim, and model (which includes graphical representations). Students use these steps to make sense of what they're seeing and experiencing. Very specific scientific concepts from all branches of science are taught, and students then get to implement them; they include breaking down compounds into their individual elements and recombining them into new materials, balancing food chains, and using Newtonian physics, conservation of mass, and properties of matter.
The science concepts and gameplay speed start out too simplistic and slow for older grades, and some of the game mechanics might be too advanced for the very youngest grades. In those cases, pairing students might help them overcome any challenges. Since the game is self-paced, each student can learn at her own speed.
Key Standards Supported
Matter and Its Interactions
Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen.
Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.
Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.
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