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Pros: Placing students in the position to operate a cell is a gripping way to teach biology.
Cons: Some students may skip the instructions and dive right into the games, leaving some learning behind.
Bottom Line: Students take away a broad knowledge of cell anatomy and function.
Teachers can use this game as an introduction to cell anatomy and physiology, assigning it as homework or as lesson review. It covers the basics well enough to be used in a variety of educational situations and appeals to a wide range of students, making it a valuable tool both inside the classroom and out. Use Cell Command to reinforce lessons or to bring learning to life. Since all text can also be listened to as well as read, it will appeal to those with low literacy as well. In places, the game has cells that can perform a wide variety of tasks, but remind students that in reality, cells differentiate themselves to serve one particular purpose.
Cell Command is an extensive browser-based game designed to teach students about animal cell anatomy and function. It contains six mini-games, each designed to teach the functions of different organelles inside those cells. When introduced to each mini-game, students learn how to play the mini-game itself, but also learn the purpose of the featured organelle. With more reference material than some basic lessons, this game is good for introducing cellular biology concepts and as a follow-up to lessons on the topic. The research on which the game is based is supported by The Institute of Education Sciences.
From the basic instructions to the ancillary resources, Cell Command provides enough information to keep even the most curious minds intrigued. At higher levels, students are introduced to various cells around the body and their individual functions. This allows for a broader scope of exposure through exploration. Having been built around the Universal Design for Learning, this opportunity to explore the human body is accessible to more students. That being said, occasional text within the game could benefit from some editing, and the pace of the game is a bit uneven.