Fun with math, really
Case students develop a video game that rewards kids for crunching numbers.
Hoping to lure more children into STEM, a trio of Case students has created a video game that motivates kids to add, subtract, multiply, and divide — and have fun doing it.
Marcel Duvivier, Jeremiah Mubiru, and Ana Perez Cespedes developed Math and Martians, a game that guides players through a story in which they must navigate a maze while solving math problems, which get increasingly harder.
A poll of gamers astonished adults. “Oh, the students love it,” said Faith Dickens, founder and executive director of David’s Challenge, an after-school program for K-9 students in Cuyahoga County.
The project is part of the Interschool Quantitative Biosciences Program (IQBP), an effort by CWRU to diversify STEM fields with the aid of quantitative bioscientists from across campus.
Steven Eppell, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, took the lead on developing the IQBP’s outreach programming and partnered with David’s Challenge.
Eppell hopes to expand the program nationally with funding from the National Science Foundation. He notes that Case students are learning, too.
“It’s really useful to see how what I make is being interpreted,” said Duvivier, a fourth-year computer science major. “The way you envision people playing and the way people actually play it are never really going to be the same.”
He and his teammates are now at work improving the math machine with new levels and categories, aiming to make the game — and math — as engaging as possible.