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Development of Computer Game Based Instruction: The Periodic Table Game

  • Brenda O'Neal (a1), Leigh McKenzie (a2), Garry W. Warren (a3), Earnest Nancy (a4), Timothy Bryant (a5) and Martin G. Bakker (a6)...


A collaboration between The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and the Integrated Science (IS) program run by the Center for Communication and Educational Technology (CCET) at The University of Alabama has been developing a computer game based approach to teaching Periodic Table concepts and facts to middle school students. The game is broken into seven different sections. There are three information centers, which are each paired with a game, and there is a “Dream Room” which provides an incentive for students to master the subject matter of the game. The three information centers focus on learning the elements, their positions in the periodic table, and trends in physical and chemical properties. The games then test the students' knowledge of the concepts and facts in the information centers. The game is currently in a late beta version and can be accessed over the web at

Preliminary results from a large evaluation exercise shows that classes that use the computer games improved significantly more on tests of subject matter than a control group.



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1. Malone, T. W., What Makes Things Fun to Learn? A Study of Intrinsically Motivating Computer Games. Palo Alto, CA: Xerox Research Center (1980).
2. Malone, T. W., Cognitive Science, 4, 333369 (1981).
3. Malone, T. W., Lepper, M. R., in Aptitude, Learning, and Instruction; vol. 3: Conative and Affective Process Analyses edited by Snow, R. E., and Farr, M. J., (pp. 223253). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum (1987).



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