Make Your Own Moon
Are you handy with graphics? Are you able to listen to scientific discoveries about things too tiny to see or too far in space to visit and imagine it perfectly? You might try entering the National Science Foundation's International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge, which opens today, February 1. You can find last year's winners here, including a game that let students build (and destroy) their own moon. Playing around with different models is meant to teach them physics and geology concepts. Here's the description:
In this online game geared to grade 5-12 students, players create their own moon with raw space materials, then pummel it with asteroids and flood it with lava. As they adjust the rates of accretion--new materials glomming onto the moon--and differentiation--materials of varying densities settling into a core, mantle, and crust--students create different kinds of moons and gain an intuitive grasp of the physics of collisions, says game theorist and principal investigator Debbie Denise Reese at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia.
Game credits: Debbie Denise Reese, Robert E. Kosko, Charles A. Wood, and Cassie Lightfritz, Wheeling Jesuit University; Barbara G. Tabachnick, California State University, Northridge