Skills and Ideas Taught: Students learn about the scientific method and microbiology concepts (e.g., pathogens, mutagens, bacteria, viruses, immunization, etc.) while solving a complex diagnostic task. Furthermore, students develop foundational reading skills by reading complex informational texts and completing concept matrices. The science curriculum of CRYSTAL ISLANDis aligned with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study for Eighth Grade Microbiology. The reading curriculum is mapped to Common Core State Standards for Reading Informational Texts.
Goal or Challenge: Students diagnose an epidemic that is afflicting a team of scientists at a remote island research station. Students learn microbiology concepts and read complex texts as they gather clues about the illness, determine the identity and transmission source of the disease, and recommend a treatment.
Primary Audience: K-12 Students (Grade 8)
Assessment Approach: At a coarse grain size, student learning is measured based on whether students solve the mystery, which requires strategic planning, synthesis and application of scientific knowledge, and self-regulated learning skills. Students receive formative feedback within the game as they test hypotheses, complete concept matrices, and present their findings to the camp nurse. Moreover, CRYSTAL ISLAND is the corner stone of a game-based learning research agenda that leverages pre/post assessments and student logs to perform educational data mining analyses with classroom study data.
Description: CRYSTAL ISLAND: Lost Investigation is an engaging educational adventure game for middle school microbiology and literacy. Players adopt the role of an Epidemic Intelligence Officer investigating an outbreak at a research station on a remote island. Players solve the science mystery by gathering clues from sick patients, collecting information about viral and bacterial infections, running laboratory tests, and presenting diagnostic predictions. After solving the mystery, students unlock Challenge Mode where they earn trophies and master foundational reading skills and science content knowledge. The game provides narrative-based scaffolding and embedded assessments to promote strategic thinking, complex problem solving, and self-regulated learning.
Game Engine: Unity
Operating System: Windows
Platform: Personal computer
Special Hardware: None