Selecting the curriculum and content standards

The two main areas of focus for Radix are high school math and biology.  We chose these as the initial content areas because we felt they provided many topic areas that lent themselves well to an MMO and also because they are the areas that our teams knows best.  The challenge came in deciding which specific topics to cover in each domain.

Biology provides many wonderful opportunities for hands on labs and we didn’t want to try to replace any of that.  Instead, we wanted the game to provide a place for students to experiment in ways they can’t do in classroom.  For this first version of the game, we’ve selected genetics, ecology, evolution and human body systems.  Players will be able to breed animals over several generations, advance time hundreds of years to see ecosystem and evolutionary effects and perform medical tests in order to diagnose and treat characters in the world.  The biology standards are selected from the Next Generation Science Standards with details from the College Board Standards for College Success.

Math provided a bit more of a challenge.  There is simply so much material to choose from.  We knew that we wanted to cover geometry because the game lends itself well to measuring and building objects.  We also wanted to cover probability and statistics and give students a chance to see applications of these topics in the MMO world.  In the end, we added a small bit of algebra to the mix as well, specifically focusing on unit conversions and linear equations.  The math curriculum now feels like it fits more into a 10th grade integrated math class.  We really like this approach because as students play through the game, they see connections across areas of math, rather than just discrete topics.  The math standards come from the Common Core State Standards with an emphasis on the math practices that are set out in the CCSS.

We spent several months debating exactly which standards to incorporate into the first version of this game.  We plowed through syllabus after syllabus from classrooms all over the US, looked through pacing guides, read over statewide final exams and talked with our teacher consultants before we narrowed it down.  We’re quite happy with what was finally selected and excited to be turning those standards into quests for the game.

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About Susannah

Educational Content Manager at the MIT Education Arcade. I work on determining standards and learning objectives for the game, manage teacher partnerships, test prototypes with students and help develop assessments. I'll generally post about content and curriculum development but will share lots of other insights and observations about developing Radix.

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