MicroMuseum launched today – a mobile gaming program about microbial organisms

Today was a wild day for me. After participating in the press briefing for the new pterosaurs exhibit, where I helped share the exhibit-related card game developed within an after school program, we launched a NEW after school program that has the potential to take such exhibit-focused youth media development to a whole new level.

The program, MicroMuseum, is a mobile gaming program about microbial organisms and processes associated with AMNH exhibits. Our working description of the program is as follows:

The Microbiomes program will engaged high school youth this spring in an after school program to collaborate with microbial curator Susan Perkins and educational app developers, Studio REV-, to create a prototype of a game designed to explore the “hidden world” within our halls. The game will encourage its players to look for things that exist and operate at a microscale while developing an understanding of their ecological role across scale. The high school youth will play a key role selecting and working with the science content, shaping the game aesthetics, co-designing the educational and gameplay experience, and playtesting it.

There are other excellent people developing and running the program, but I will get to them in a later post. For now, I wanted to do a quick share out about today’s inaugural session. This post also begins a new thread on this blog, so we can share bonus learning opportunities with the youth participants, they can follow and comment on what we write about them, and where they might even post their own blog posts at some point (we’ll see).

So, through captioned photos, here are some highlights from today’s program.

We started the session with Giant Microbe Hot Potato, introducing the 21 microbe mascots for the program (and each other).

Susan Perkins led a session on “The Diversity of Microorganisms.”

To process what they just learned, they sorted key terms and words into the three categories.

An example of a finished chart.

Then we visited the halls to connect with some local microbes. First in the Hall of Biodiversity…

… then, within an over-sized forest floor…

… and finally to an over-sized mosquito (which, in real life, may contain a variety of microbes, some deadly to humans).

Then we went behind the scenes, to the Hallway of Banished Exhibits, to look at a different mosquito (a 100-year old exhibit that was once on the floor to teach the public about yellow fever) and a beautiful giant-sized glass-blown display about the microbial occupants of a drop of water.

After processing some of the content from the day, and reflecting in their new journals, they went home… with the promise to return tomorrow for the second session (we’ll see them twice a week throughout April and May) which will focus on augmented reality (and Häagen-Dazs ice- cream packaging).

About Barry

The Associate Director For Digital Learning, Youth Initiatives at the American Museum of Natural History.
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One Response to MicroMuseum launched today – a mobile gaming program about microbial organisms

  1. marisajahn says:

    One student highlight: getting to learn so much interesting information from the ever-knowledgeable Susan Perkins. Definitely one of my highlights — as well as getting to work with such a talented team!

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