Science games for kids

8/09/2004

Children have a natural curiosity about the way the world works.

Now, they can learn about light, sound, space, electricity and motion through a series of free educational computer games for primary schools.

The games are aimed at Key Stage 2 children (aged 9-11) and have been developed by the University of Cambridge's Department of Engineering and SeeK (Science and Engineering Experiments for Kids) as a fun and interactive teaching tool. Children can play them at home or at school by logging on to the Engineering Interact website at www.engineeringinteract.org.

All the games are linked to the National Curriculum, so they can be used to enhance children's understanding of concepts they have been learning in the classroom.

The Engineering Interact website also features lots of information about the practical applications of these concepts, so that children studying light, for instance, can learn how digital cameras work and how fibre-optics are used in medicine and communications.

The website has been given the thumbs-up from teachers and students who have used it during its trial stages.

Teachers have praised its ability to engage and stimulate their students, encouraging them to think for themselves and learn through their own investigations. Children described it as a fun way of learning, which kept them involved because they wanted to find out what happened at the end of each game.

The Engineering Interact project has also been highly praised by the Government's National Grid for Learning, which said: 'This is a wonderful site which fulfils all its stated objectives in a truly interactive way.'

Engineering Interact's Peter Stidwill, who is responsible for the website, said: 'We wanted to produce a 'game' that would teach children the fundamentals of science in a really fun and engaging way, and then to use those ideas to show how engineers use science in the world all around us. So many people do not really understand what engineering is all about, and it is important that those children who get inspired by science also consider engineering as a potential career.'

Engineering Interact is jointly funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) Aspirations Fund and the University of Cambridge's Active Community Fund.

The Engineering Interact games include:
  • Alien Attack - learn about light, reflection and how we see things as you save the world from an alien attack.
  • Ocean Odyssey - learn about sound, loudness and how we hear things as you help Mel the Mermaid get her hearing back from the evil Sea Serpent.
  • Parkworld Plot - learn about forces, gravity and motion as you save ParkWorld theme park from rival Bertie Block's sabotage attempts.
  • Astro Adventure - learn about the Sun, Moon and Earth as you take a troublesome trip through the Solar System.
  • Silicon Spies - learn about electricity and circuits as you go undercover in Silicon City.

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    For further information, please contact the University of Cambridge Press Office on 01223 332300

    Reproduced courtesy University of Cambridge Press Office
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