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Still from CyGaME Project instructional video game Selene (Image 1)

Still from Selene video game of large projectile the size of Mars colliding with early Earth

Players of the CyGaME (Cyberlearning through Game-based, Metaphor Enhanced Learning Objects) Project instructional video game Selene, a lunar science game developed by the Center for Educational TechnologiesŪR (CET) and supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), discover and apply fundamental geological processes such as collisional accretion. Selene models the Giant Impact Theory--which states that the moon was formed out of debris left over from an indirect collision between Earth and an astronomical body the size of Mars, approximately 4.5 billion years ago. This still image captured from Selene illustrates a large projectile about a quarter the size of the proto-Earth colliding with early Earth. Player inquiry discovers and applies the physics through which debris from the collision accreted as the Earth's proto moon.

CET created Selene to answer the question: Would young people learn science better if it were packaged in a video game? Named after the Greek lunar goddess, Selene challenges players to learn the major geologic processes scientists believe formed the modern moon. Players construct their own moon and then add impact craters and lava. It provides students with the opportunity to learn about lunar geology while helping researchers study some key video game design principles.

The CyGaME approach employs cognitive science, informatics science and analysis methods to help game designers have more control over what games do; that is, to help players learn by doing, discovering and inquiring.

Selene received two honorable mention awards in the games and apps category of the 2012 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge, sponsored by NSF and Science magazine.

Further information about Selene is available Here. [Research supported by NSF grant DRL 08-14512.] (Date of Image: October 2009) [Image 1 of 3 related images. See Image 2.]

Credit: Debbie Denise Reese, CYGaMEs Project, Center for Educational Technologies, Wheeling Jesuit University
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