Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Games, Simulations and Virtual Labs for STEM/Science Education

Location: Posters; Level 3, Skyline Ballroom Pre-function, Table 10

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Tuesday, June 26, 1:15–3:15 pm
Location: Posters; Level 3, Skyline Ballroom Pre-function, Table 10

Dr. Randy Russell  
Get a demo of several computer-based and tabletop games and simulations for teaching science and related STEM topics. We'll address Earth science topics and overlap into physics, chemistry and computational thinking. We'll also share a compendium of STEM games and simulations from various sources.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Game-based learning and gamification
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Manage the use of technology and student learning strategies in digital platforms, virtual environments, hands-on makerspaces or in the field.
For Students:
Computational Thinker
  • Students formulate problem definitions suited for technology-assisted methods such as data analysis, abstract models and algorithmic thinking in exploring and finding solutions.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants who attend our session will walk away with references to and information about numerous games and simulations for science education that they can incorporate into their own teaching. They will also experience demonstrations of several of these resources, allowing them to better assess their suitability for use by participants. As the use of online and blended-learning technologies grows, the need for "minds-on" activities that require students to form and test hypotheses (similar to laboratory and field experiences in the physical world) will also increase.


Our education center is embedded in a large scientific research lab - the National Center for Atmospheric Science (NCAR) - which is a leading climate and weather research center. Our center has both developed games and simulations for science education AND assembled an extensive list of similar resources from a wide variety of sources (universities, NASA, NOAA, EPA, commercial vendors, etc.). Our session will allow attendees to:

1) test drive or see demonstrations of several simulations and games for science education
2) learn about and gain access to our extensive compendium of science education games and simulations from various sources
3) experience several games and simulations developed by our group (the Very Simple Climate Model, Cloud Sorting and Matching Games, Tree Ring Paleoclimate Simulator, Virtual Ballooning, Chemistry Matching Game, etc.)
4) see early demonstration versions of our fledgling VR and AR resources in development

Supporting research

Experts advocating for games in ed: James Gee, Jane McGonigal

Projects that illustrate the utility of simulations for science education: PhET (phet.colorado.edu) and various items by the Concord Consortium (learn.concord.org)

More [+]


Dr. Randy Russell, UCAR Center for Science Education

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