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App review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2013
Storm Seekers

Storm Seekers

Forecasting game highlights the science of weather patterns

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Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Grades
6–9 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Science, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Clear progression in each of the stages builds skill and confidence, and keeps students interested.

Cons: Limited background information may leave some students or teachers unsatisifed.

Bottom Line: While a bit limited in scope, Storm Seekers offers a well-designed and self-contained learning experience about the impact of weather conditions on weather patterns.

Storm Seekers isn't designed to comprehensively teach about weather; instead, it carves out one portion of the content -- how weather conditions result in specific weather patterns -- and covers that well. It can function as a great bridge between a basic lecture or independent study on weather conditions/patterns and deeper exploration of how and why those patterns emerge. It can be used both as homework or as in-class individual or partnered activity. And since it does a good job of weaving instruction into play, there's little teaching that needs to be done during play. However, it might be a good idea to roam around and get students to talk through their thinking processes, so that they demonstrate they're thinking critically rather than guessing randomly.

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Editor's Note: Storm Seekers is no longer available on the Filament Games website.

Storm Seekers is a single-player, browser-based weather prediction game designed to teach students about weather patterns and the influence of the environment on those patterns. It features a mix of artistic polish, unique content coverage, and an engaging game mechanic focused on weather prediction. Students think critically as they look at a map of weather patterns, and then make predictions about the weather patterns. They make these predictions by moving a weather balloon to three designated geographical locations on the map, and then select each location's most likely weather pattern based on humidity, wind direction/speed, and terrain. Points are awarded based on the complexity and success of the predictions.

The best thing about Storm Seekers is that it's both thorough and easy to grasp. It will teach students -- through some educated guessing and trial-and-error -- the factors that affect weather patterns and how to predict weather based on these factors. It definitely helps that the art style of the game is sharp, adding an extra layer of engagement. But beyond being pretty, content is well-communicated through icons and menus. Still, things can feel a bit slow, and the awkward point-and-click interaction isn't on its own very absorbing. More important, however, Storm Seekers accomplishes its learning goals -- goals that are relatively rarely in the educational game space -- and attentive students will be satisfied. There's also more content coming: A future update will allow for a wider variety of weather and will grant students the ability to change the weather. This update will give the product more depth and provide a greater challenge for students, while giving them a broader opportunity for understanding.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

It's a fun, colorful experience full of interesting choices. Highly replayable.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Despite its limited scope and explanation of scientific concepts, the intention and execution are solid.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Kids are given regular feedback. The map shows weather progression well, even in places where kids didn't make predictions.


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