This space adventure brings mathematical modeling straight to the classroom. Made in partnership with the UW-MRSEC research center.
You are a material scientist who just crash-landed on an abandoned mining planet. You’re out of fuel, and your suit’s oxygen is running low. You need to mine enough fuel to power your ship, or you won’t survive.
You stumble into the old mining facility. That’s where you meet MAL, the mine’s Artificial Intelligence, who is thrilled to have someone to talk to. With MAL’s help, you’ll build scientific models to predict if you’re mining fast enough and what you need to do next.
Each level puts the student in the role of the scientific modeler. Students will set up equations, work with graphs, input data, and use models to make predictions. Along the way, as obstacles keep popping up, students will experience how models are used as a tool to make decisions.
Note: For best compatibility, use Chrome
Use Lost at the Forever Mine to introduce units on graphing or scientific modeling. The game was designed to help kids experience the need for math to make predictions. This story-based game gives a context to why graphing, math equations, and collecting data can help us solve problems.
Try introducing a unit with this game. Let the kids figure out how the game works with little introduction. Remember, struggling to figure it out is part of the process. Games are safe places for struggle and failure to become part of the fun.
Developing and using models is one of the eight cross-cutting science and engineering practices in the NGSS Framework
From the NGSS Framework: “Developing and Using Models. A practice of both science and engineering is to use and construct models as helpful tools for representing ideas and explanations. These tools include diagrams, drawings, physical replicas, mathematical representations, analogies, and computer simulations.”
This game is designed as an introduction to mathematical models and their utility in describing and predicting phenomena.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
This standard is met in the game by having the player iteratively improve the mining process such that an optimal design can be achieved and the player survives.