SBIR Phase I: A game-based, cross-cutting physics and chemistry mobile application for grades 9-12

Period of Performance: 07/01/2016 - 12/31/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Substrate Games, LLC
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


This SBIR Phase I project will enable the development of a game-based, mobile cross-cutting physics and chemistry application for students in grades 9-12. In 2011 the National Research Council (NRC) published the final framework for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS, which have been adopted by 17 states and the District of Columbia, place an emphasis on cross-cutting science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) concepts, but these concepts are often not yet incorporated in 9-12 grade curriculum. By leveraging the intrinsic appeal and intuitive nature of interactive media for learning, this project aims to address this gap, engendering student engagement with a learn-by-doing approach that incorporates problem solving and rewards student progress. Interactive media, specifically game-based learning, is beginning to gain momentum in classrooms as a complement to teacher-led instruction. The engagement of more young people in science is critical for our nation, both to create informed citizens and to properly prepare the next generation of skilled professionals. In addition to directly creating several jobs for skilled US citizens, the efforts of this project will contribute to a commercially viable mobile application for an educational technologies industry that is currently valued at $1.5 billion per annum and growing. This project will focus on radiant energy, including its physical attributes, how these attributes interact with the natural world (chemical, biological, geological, astronomical), and how radiant energy is harnessed for engineering and technological applications. This will lead students to think about real-world scenarios and learn how the natural connectivity of STEM will enable them to formulate a broad mental lattice which emphasizes the deep relationships within the biological, physical, and mathematical worlds. Light in the broad sense is electromagnetic radiant energy and includes radio waves, UV irradiation, visible light, gamma rays. Regardless of which type it is, the speed of light is the same, c, = 2.9979245Å~108 m s-1. This connection is often lost on students as there is no suitable way of teaching this in the classroom. In concert with the NGSS and the powerful potential of interactive applications in modeling complex systems, this project will give educators a tool to communicate these concepts using a hands-on approach. This innovation is based on evidence that active participation in learning can increase information retention rates by as much as 45% when compared to traditional lecture or audiovisual teaching techniques. In addition, the element of gamification further increases student engagement and sense of achievement.