New game app engages young girls in STEM | MSUToday

Huey-Wen Lin, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering at Michigan State University, developed the new “Quantum 3” game app to engage the general public and children from kindergarten to 12th grade. Quantum Chromodynamics, or QCD, a theory that governs the interactions of subatomic particles that form all stable matter.

The game lets you build subatomic particles, uncover the mysteries of fundamental physics, and deploy antimatter to pave the way. The game has a similar premise to Candy Crush. You unravel the quantum properties of color, flavor, and rotation. The main components of the quark and gluon game are the smallest particles known to us, often called “fundamental” particles.

According to Lin, QCD is a theory that dominates the world of the very small and is responsible for our existence and mass.

The new app was inspired by the New York Times article “How to Get Girls to Code”, as part of a nationwide campaign to get more girls into physics and coding. Some educators think the game could be a way to get girls interested in coding and STEM topics.

With the immersive framework of interactive gameplay, this QCD phone game will let the audience peek into the world of QCD research. The game design falls into the “Match 3” genre, which generally attracts a higher ratio of female players. The game is also suitable for color blind people.

“We formed a development team of MSU undergraduates to create the game and provided them with a QCD curriculum. The game will be tested during MSU outreach activities, as well as among local K-12 girls through school activities, and feedback will be used to improve the design,” Lin said. “The final game can be easily downloaded through various app stores and the impact will be measured through a follow-up survey. If such a new direction works to attract more girls to coding and physics, more games to engage more girls in STEM.

MSU’s undergraduate development team includes: Tristan Özkan, Harrison Sanders, Rebecca Roman, Roman Firestone, and Colleen Little.

The project was a collaboration with MSU’s Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab and the National Science Foundation.

The game is available for download on Google Play and the Apple Appstore.

For more information, click here.

Back To Top