Request for Proposals – Short Science Games (Deadline: July 15, 2011)

The NSF has provided funding for a consortium of schools including Barnard College, Trinity College, Elon University, and James Madison University to develop and assess short RTTP science games (click here to read more). Short RTTP games involve 2 or at most 3 class periods of student game play plus required setup and postmortem. The goal of the short games initiative is to develop games that can be more easily introduced into traditional science courses and to assess the effectiveness of these games in terms of students’ content learning, attitudes toward science, and understanding of the scientific process.

Each successful game will receive development support of up to $4000. The funds are provided in two phases. The first stipend of $1000 covers the initial development and local testing of the game at the authors’ home institution during 2011-12. The results of this work will be reviewed by the Reacting Science Advisory Board (RSAB). It is expected that one of the games under development will be selected to receive the second phase funding of $3000 for the authors to produce student game book and instructor’s materials suitable for distribution and testing within the RTTP community. The resulting game materials may be introduced at the RTTP Conference in 2012 with approval of the RSAB.

A significant component of this project is the assessment of the RTTP science games. The authors will work with the Center for Assessment and Research Studies at James Madison University to develop appropriate assessment instruments for the science content in their games and assist in administering these in their courses during the development phase.

Authors’ stipends also include their service as Gamemaster for the introduction of their game at the RTTP summer conference. Funds are also available for the authors to make one presentation at a relevant scientific meeting to help disseminate their game to the larger community. Authors will receive reasonable travel reimbursement for travel to the RTTP conference and to the scientific meeting for their presentations in addition to their stipend. Stipends will be divided among co-authors in group projects.

The RSAB will make its decision based on the following criteria:

  1. Is the game suitable to be widely used in introductory science courses?
  2. How does the game fit with existing RTTP science games to provide a broad range of content coverage?
  3. Does the proposal involve standard game mechanics (e.g. student presentations, roles, factions, victory objectives) used in RTTP games?
  4. Is the author(s) experienced teaching RTTP materials or attending RTTP conferences?

The RSAB recognizes that science games and short games may diverge in some ways from the traditional guidelines for a RTTP game. They may use different types of readings than traditional RTTP games. A “Great Book” may in fact by a few “Great Papers”.  However, authors should still strive to have their games provide students with as much of the RTTP experience as possible in the shorter framework.

To submit a game for consideration, please send a short description of the proposed game to David Henderson (david.henderson@trincoll.edu).  This should include the title of the proposed game, the scientific content to be covered, the central historical focus of the game, the nature of the conflict in the game, and examples of science courses in which the game will be used.  Include a brief summary of the professional qualifications of the author(s) to write the game and their experience with RTTP. Consideration of proposals will begin on July 15, 2011.