It'll probably fit in best as an exploratory, independent study tool for advanced placement students or accelerated learners. Students who don't already have a high level of basic cell biology vocabulary will end up absorbing new terms and knowledge they can bring back to discussions in class, or reframe through presentations or other demonstrations of learning such as cell model creation. Unfortunately, since there's no way to save the game or track progress, students must play the whole game in one sitting, and teachers must use the honor system to award credit.Continue reading Show less
Meta!Blast is a biology game under development at Iowa State University that shrinks players down to microscopic size and immerses them in the world of a plant cell. It's up to the player to learn about the cell and rescue a team of stranded scientists. As students fly through the plant, they must collect data to complete a very detailed dictionary of biological information. Students get to see firsthand what cells are made of and how they work, providing a more interactive and exploratory version of the classic cell diagram found in biology textbooks.
There's a slight disconnect between the content -- aimed at advanced placement high school students or college-level students -- and the relatively simplistic and limited gameplay, which better suits younger kids. There's definitely a lot of information to obtain, and it's a great way to spice up a cell diagram, but what's learned could use additional context and instructional design, and less reliance on advanced terminology to explain concepts. As is, the interface may be a stumbling block for some students, but others won't mind, given the high-quality visual design of the cell.
Key Standards Supported
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9–10 texts and topics.
By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 9–10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11–12 texts and topics.
By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 11–12 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Key Standards Supported
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.
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