This project is solving the My Virtual Mentor challenge.
Game concept to empowering young peoples interest for natural sciences and space exploration
The concept comprises two parts: A mobile game app, space-themed and with problem solving methods similar to programming. The players communicate through the new space language Lingua Galactica Launch of an annual competition for girls in fifth grade with mentoring from space scientists
The mobile game app
Aimed at children 8-16 years, based on problem solving through thinking similar programming. The game is designed to suit both girls and boys and played in teams. The environment is space, challenges come from an alien civilization on another planet and is given in a foreign language which the player by solving different problems gradually learns. The more you learn, the more advanced challenges and missions can you get from the aliens - it may be for saving their planet for ex. The game has an associated site with forums, membership etc.
October 1, 2014 openes a competition for girls in fifth grade. You have to form teams to succeed in two months with a large space challenge in the game. The teams can be formed through friendships / classes or by finding teammates online via social forums. During the competition, each team has a mentor in the form of a space scientist / astronaut / expert , communicating with the team and also adding challenges / rewards along the way. A number of winning teams will then visit the space center in Kiruna. The contest recurs annually and is marketed both through schools and through social media. The mobile game app exists independently and are targeting both girls and boys.
The solution addresses the common problem of too few women in scientific / technical occupations. To make girls interested in technology, space and programming through a concept of a game with a targeted event for girls in fifth grade, could make a powerful way to broaden the perspectives of space science, and to take advantage of young women's genius!
The team met for the first time in Space Apps Challenge and the solution is developed entirely from scratch during the competition. The team has a great breadth: Chalmers Student, 23, television producer 51, and app developer 34, which has contributed to great creative heights while working and a dynamic process. The creative height of the solution is good, both through the combination of game and irl activity and also through the mobile game app that attract young people to learn a whole new language by using problem solving similar to the basics of programming. The new space language Lingua Galactica provides also great opportunities for international dissemination of both the mobile app and the benefits of scinence. During the competition the team made a survey on Youth Astronomical Association's forum where we asked what young girls want to enhance interest in space, and the answers are very consistent with elements of our solution.
The selected challenge formulates a need to make NASA's website for mentor program for young girls, http://women.nasa.gov/nasagirlsgroup/ , interactive and adapted to mobile platforms. We have instead chosen to emphasize the idea of mentoring to Sweden / Scandinavia, where it felt more relevant for us. However, it is nothing to say that not the mobile game app will be used internationally and in the next stage can be used by NASA's own mentoring program, and thus we fulfill NASA's desire to get something more mobile-friendly to use!
The team believes that the ideas that address the problem of the too few women in technology and space can get funding in several ways and that therefore the idea could be realized after Space Apps Challenge. All team members are interested to continue their involvement in a possible sequel.