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Amplify Pilots 30 Educational Middle School Games
Amplify has unveiled a selection of more than 30 educational games designed to help middle school students with English language arts and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills.
According to the company, the games work on the Amplify tablet and "major mobile operating systems, including iOS." They are currently being pilot tested in schools across the country and will be available for classroom use at the start of the 2014-2015 school year.
About half of the games are based in Amplify's English language arts game world, called Lexica. Lexica is a virtual world featuring a library stocked with more than 300 classic and contemporary literary fiction and nonfiction books. Students can read the books in Lexica and then use the information from the books to help understand characters and puzzles in the game world and unlock new capabilities in the games.
According to the company, "the core educational goals of Lexica are to increase the amount of challenging reading that students do outside the classroom; bolster specific skills related to reading and writing; increase vocabulary; and to help students develop strong academic behaviors and habits."
English language arts games embedded in the Lexica virtual world include:
- Mukashi Mukashi, a syntax and storytelling game based on Japanese folklore;
- Story Cards, a collectible card game featuring authors and characters from classic and modern literature;
- WELDER, an educational version of a top-selling iOS word game;
- Tomes, a choose-your-own-adventure series with a focus on vocabulary, featuring characters from classic literature;
- Unearthed, an arcade-style game designed to teach students the complexities and irregularities of subject-verb agreement;
- Sentence and Sensibility, an arcade-style word puzzle game that encourages students to use more varied and complex sentence structures in their own writing;
- Venture!, a bundle of quick-play games focusing on spelling, conjugation of irregular verbs, and overcoming homonym confusion; and
- Spelling Stone, a puzzle game that links spelling to morphology.
Amplify also plans to release at least 15 science, math, and engineering games, including:
- SimCell, an immersive exploration game depicting the inner worlds of a human muscle cell;
- Crafty Cut; a swipe-to-cut puzzle game for exploring the relationships between 3-D and 2D geometry;
- Metabosim, a pinball-style game about how plants and people obtain energy;
- Habitactics, a puzzle game covering ecosystem interactions among predators and prey, fungus, and decaying bodies, etc.;
- Immuno-Defense, a real-time strategy game about using the various types of white blood cells to defend the human body from bacteria;
- Twelve, a puzzle platform that integrates math into core game mechanics;
- Food Web, an arcade-style, casual game that teaches about the complex relationships between plants and animals in an ecosystem; and
- TyrAnt, a light, real-time strategy game where the player seeks to protect and grow a colony of ants.
The games were designed by companies such as Schell Games, Zachtronics, Preloaded, Highline Games, Ira Fay Games, Strange Loop, and Bossa, and the teams include developers who worked on games such as Disney ToonTown, Infiniminer (the original game that Minecraft is based on), and The Sims 2.
School districts will be able to purchase the games in the spring of 2014 for deployment at the start of the 2014-2015 school year. They will be available as a bundle with Amplify's digital curriculum or to be purchased separately.
Further information can be found on Amplify's site.
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.