Teachers (either science teachers at the middle or high school level, or elementary grade teachers working within a science unit) would likely use this game at the end of a unit on heat, energy, or, more specifically, thermodynamics and heat transfer. The game works best when individual students can practice and experiment with the different science-based strategies within the hotel itself. The practice of these scientific laws could be discussed in small groups or as an entire class, and might be followed up with a summative writing assignment or project depending on how the teacher wanted to extend the lesson. For more advanced students and classes, Hotel Heat could be one aspect of a larger unit about energy-efficient design and engineering, culminating with students -- either individually or in project teams -- presenting designs, and maybe even models, of energy-efficient buildings.Continue reading Show less
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Hotel Heat has students play the role of a hotel manager trying to keep the temperature of each guest's room right where he/she likes it. To do so, students need to use the laws of thermodynamics and heat transfer to adjust the hotel's heating system so each room is perfectly warm or cool. Students who keep their guests through the night earn enough money to continue on to the next level. If too many guests get fed up and leave, students must repeat the level until they learn to move heat effectively through the building and keep guests happy.
Play is fast and charming, though very repetitive, and success or failure may depend more on quick clicks than on real understanding of the scientific laws of thermodynamics. So while it's instantly fun, there isn't a whole lot of variety (all the levels are the same with different customers), and students are likely to feel like they've gotten all they will get out of the experience after one session.
Hotel Heat does a very good job of isolating the scientific processes of thermodynamics and heat transfer, and letting the player experiment and practice these concepts in a fun context. But keep in mind that this focus means the experience is brief and limited in scope. It would be beneficial for students to have additional curricular scaffolding to connect gameplay with other covered concepts or extend to more complex concepts. Still, Hotel Heat is straightforward enough that students across a range of grades will get a basic understanding of heat transfer through the game alone.
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