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Announce Date: February 5, 2010
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PBSKidsGo.org Launches Scientific Journey With Lifeboat to Mars

New Site Invites Kids to Progressively Master Different Levels of the Game and Then Create Their Own Version
 
PBSKidsGo.org Lifeboat to Mars
Science education just got even more exciting with the launch of LIFEBOAT TO MARS, a fun, new, interactive educational game on  PBSKIDSGO.org. Designed by  Red Hill Studios and PBS KIDS GO! in close collaboration with leading educational researchers and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF)
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URL: http://pbskids.org/lifeboat/

Science education just got even more exciting with the launch of LIFEBOAT TO MARS, a fun, new, interactive educational game on  PBSKIDSGO.org. 

Designed by  Red Hill Studios and PBS KIDS GO! in close collaboration with leading educational researchers and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the game follows a unique “staircase” design that merges an educational sequence with more than 40 challenging game levels, eventually leading to the opportunity for kids to “mod,” or create, their own version of the game to share with others. As players work to rebuild a virtual ecosystem in outer space, they learn standards-based biology concepts. LIFEBOAT TO MARS is at  PBSKIDSGO.org/lifeboat.

“LIFEBOAT TO MARS is the latest in a series of innovative Web sites and services we’ve launched in the past year that have been smash hits with kids, including the PBS KIDS GO! and PBS KIDS video players,” said Jason Seiken, PBS SVP, Interactive. “LIFEBOAT TO MARS is unique in that it will help guide children through biology concepts, but it will also help further develop their own scientific thought processes by encouraging them to master levels of the game and then create their own version to challenge others.”

“Videogames are enticing because they’re always challenging,” says Bob Hone, Creative Director of Red Hill Studios. “We’ve designed these educational games so they hit the same sweet spot — challenging enough to be engaging, but not so hard that they are frustrating. This encourages kids to keep playing harder and harder levels — learning new biology concepts as they go.”

LIFEBOAT TO MARS is set in the future — September 15, 2041. Mars Lifeboat #43 — a supply ship carrying experimental DNA to colonies on Mars — suffers a devastating explosion on its way to the red planet. The microbe population is wiped out, plants are wilting and the few animals left are starving.

Kids are challenged to rebuild the ecosystem in time to save the Lifeboat mission. Once they master the first six levels of games, kids have the opportunity to be in the driver’s seat and modify (“mod”) the game by creating their own unique versions of games. After selecting playful names for their creations, kids can upload their games for other kids to play and rate. “The Modding Zone” will support an evolving community of kids and ‘modders’ challenging each other to build the most popular new game levels. The special ‘modding’ tools let kids experiment with different options and approaches,” says Hone. “It helps them think like scientists and designers. Learning the science embedded in the games will help them create better games. In the process, the kids will also develop the 21st-century skills of designing and manipulating media."

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Posted by Eric Ward on 2/5/10

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