A primary goal of science education is to encourage self-regulatory skills that enable learners to comprehend complex science texts. This project unites and leverages the skills and expertise of an interdisciplinary research team from Educational Psychology, Elementary Science Education, Design, and Instructional Technology.
Students will use self-regulatory strategies, such as comprehension monitoring in order to understand scientific texts.
The curriculum in Missions with Monty aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and
the Essential Standards for Science in North Carolina.
Working through days of challenges in various mini-game environments, students will practice the following important strategies: highlighting main ideas, identifying expert summaries, answering content questions presented by characters, and providing accurate confidence judgments. Students will also be able to reflect upon their learning by using the metered feedback and feedback from characters in the game.
Gameplay and narrative
Upon entering the game, students will be greeted with a very important message. Monty the monitor lizard, the head of Wildlife University (WU) and a top researcher in the world, is investigating the cause of the epidemic sickness of WU students and faculty. Students meet Monty's colleague Lou the Zebra, who explains that Monty is onto a solution. Lou directs students to Monty's office to receive further instructions. However, the office is a mess, and Monty is nowhere to be found. Students watch a video that Monty recorded and find out that he has been taken from WU.
Now it's up to the students to travel through the rainforest, savanna, and ocean to study and collect information through days of mini-games to figure out why the animals are getting sick and help save Monty.
In order to move from one mini-game to the next, students must complete a "Moment of Truth" challenge to demonstrate their knowledge. Once students complete all the mini-games, they will have enough information to figure out why the animals at WU are getting sick and to find Monty!
The Missions Journal is a tool that houses numerous apps, such as training camp, progress, highlights, gists, notes, and the detective board. Accessible to students throughout the game, the Missions Journal allows students to track their progress and engage with its features. As students complete days of mini-games, their correct highlights and gists are automatically saved to the Missions Journal, allowing students to keep track of the most important content.
Before starting the mini-games, students go through Training Camp to receive support in four areas from four characters:
Peli the Pel's fishing owl, who specializes in monitoring.
Leon the chameleon, who specializes in highlighting.
Sia the pangolin, who specializes in writing gists.
Tus the African wild dog, who specializes in multiple-text comprehension.
Such training and scaffolding promotes science knowledge, strategy use, and motivation within a narrative framework. After students complete the training activities, they get to work in days of mini-games to solve the problem.
Students will be able to reflect on their progress as they receive metered feedback after interacting with each passage. This feature will support students' evaluations of their decisions in the respective mini-games. If students meet the passing threshold for each meter (strategy, monitoring, and comprehension), they will be able to move onto the "Moment of Truth" assessment that will require the use of knowledge across multiple texts. In addition, after students make confidence judgements in the game, metered feedback is provided, so students can reflect upon their accuracy.
Before engaging in the days of mini-games, students will complete Strategy Training Camp to practice the strategies necessary to complete the game and transfer outside of the game. There are four strategies that students will learn about and practice in Training Camp: highlighting, writing gists, monitoring, and multiple source comprehension. Each strategy is taught by a different WU professor. Through their Missions Journal, students will be able to access Training Camp throughout the in the game.
Training and mini-games
After reading each passage, students complete a highlighting challenge. Students must select a certain number of highlights and meet a threshold of accuracy to continue to the summarization challenge. The number of highlights varies according to the passage.
Students' correct highlights are automatically saved to their Missions Journal, which will be accessible while they write gists and complete mini-game challenges.
After the highlighting challenge, students complete a gist challenge. They must select the gist that best represents the main ideas from the passage. The length of gists varies according to the passage, but students will always select among three options.
Students must select the correct gist before they can continue to the quiz challenge. Students will receive feedback for each answer selection.
Following questions from game characters related to the passages during the Knowledge Challenge and the gist selection, students will engage in the Monitoring Challenge. In this challenge, students will make confidence judgments for items on a 1-00 scale.
Students will be given feedback on the accuracy of their judgments and be able to reflect on this information.
Multiple Source Comprehension
After completing each mini-game, students will engage in a Multiple Source challenge, or the "Moment of Truth." The Multiple Source challenges assess students' comprehension and ability to integrate information presented in passages, diagrams, charts, and images.
Students will be allowed to use the information stored in the Mission Journal to complete the final challenge.
Alex just submitted their highlights in the highlighting challenge. However, Alex didn't pass the threshold; they will have to retry. Feeling a bit defeated, Alex realizes that they struggle with the highlighting challenge after reading every passage. Alex remembers that they can revisit Training Camp at any point. Clicking on their Missions Journal, Alex decides to get some help from Leon the chameleon in highlighting training. After watching the training video, Alex understands that they need to highlight the most important ideas!