March 29, 2012
Almost 600 HISD students and teachers gathered at the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) on Thursday, March 22 to celebrate the second year of competition of the New Digital Energy (NDE) game. In September, 37 schools and 1,500 students began playing the computer simulation game which challenges students to build the most lucrative energy companies while teaching advanced math and science concepts. Game play finished in early March.
All schools that participated in the game play were invited to attend the event and observe chemistry demonstrations, view a planetarium show, and receive a guided tour of the museum's WEISS Energy Hall.
"Students got to meet professionals who work in the geology and chemical engineering fields and see how the energy industry works firsthand. Hopefully they will make some connections between their interests and talents to pursue a career in energy," said Claire Scoggin of HMNS.
The five schools, teams, and teachers with the highest game scores were recognized during an awards ceremony and presented with trophies, iPads, iPods, and Kindles.
HISD, partner Chevron, and Tietronix Software developed the NDE game to familiarize students with the energy industry and encourage students to develop the skills that are required to succeed in the field. In the game, students are asked to build and maintain energy companies to meet the needs of 12 cities throughout the United States. Competing teams must make decisions about where to place and maintain power plants, what type of power to use, and how to handle environmental issues and emergencies. To unlock options within the game, students must master science and math lessons.
"A teacher lecturing in front of a class can be boring to students, but when we put them in a game with a business-like environment in which they learn how to make money, it takes their learning to a real-world level," said Dr. Nghia Le, a science teacher at Booker T. Washington High School.
"I really like the game. It helped me learn about the different forms of energy and how they work. I want to play again next year," said NDE game participant and HISD student Klaius Gaston.
Top 5 Schools
Washington High School
Stevenson Middle School
Young Men's College Preparatory Academy (YMCPA)
Clifton Middle School
Top 5 Teachers
Dr. Nghia Le, Washington High School
Mr. Todd Gisler, Stevenson Middle School
Ms. Gloria Robayo, Project Chrysalis
Ms. Arnessa East, YMCPA
Ms. Astra Zeno, Clifton Middle School
Top 5 Teams
Juice Box 2.0, Washington High School
Iprolite Jr., Project Chrysalis
Mr. Versace, Stevenson Middle School
Electrolytes, Washington High School
Continental, Project Chrysalis
Taco Bell, Gregory Lincoln Education Center