Science Pirates: The Curse of Brownbeard is a 3D educational computer game that communicates food safety knowledge in an environment of scientific exploration.
The USDA awarded NMSU a grant to develop interactive games that help mid-school youth learn about food safety procedures, such as hand washing, cooking food to the proper temperature, keeping raw meat and cooked food separate, and washing surfaces. NMSU's Media Productions unit has a strong history in developing food safety materials, including an effective games site for younger children in 3rd — 5th grades, "The Food Detectives Fight BAC!®".
Original game design called for online gaming simulations through which youth would design their own experiments, draw conclusions and make recommendations in all areas of food safety. However, early testing of prototypes revealed the lack of experience youth have in conducting experiment design, and the instructional challenge of preparing students to adequately perform this important science process.
Thus, the educational goal of Pirate Science shifted from one of understanding food safety issues through science processes, to one of understanding science processes to better change food safety behavior. That meant the educational focus became more centered on scientific understanding and processes, with the end result being a game that leads students through science processes as recommended through national science standards, while giving gamers a culminating activity of experiment design to lead them to better understanding of hand washing.
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Here is some contact info if you'd like to follow-up with them directly:
Barbara Chamberlin, PhD
Extension Instructional Design and Educational Media Specialist
Project Director, Learning Games Lab
NMSU Media Productions
Gerald Thomas Hall, Rm. 286
940 E. College Ave.
Las Cruces, NM 88003
email@example.com (iChat or AIM)