We are all aware that the Gen Alpha will have a different future when it comes to education, workplace, life. These digital natives got used to the sight of the tablet screens since the day they were born. Having learnt their first letters while watching videos and playing various games, this generation demands their learning process to be a hands-on approach with clear meaning and purpose. These kids expect hands-on instead of didactic or teacher-directed experiences in classrooms. This is why the educational system needs a transformation from formal classroom-oriented lectures to video tutorials and other forms of facilitated learning, such as online learning modules. So, how can you help your kid learn science? The answer is – with video games and simulations.
STEM is a new alphabet for Alphas
The acronym STEM stands for the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Labour force data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that STEM occupied jobs are growing significantly faster than other occupations. It is projected that from 2012 to 2022, employment in STEM occupations will grow starting from 19% to 37% on average.
This is just a shred of evidence that STEM skills and knowledge are the keys to your little one’s bright and successful future career. When your kid is exploring physics or chemistry, he is also learning some of the very important life skills, such as creative and scientifically based problem-solving.
While performing an experiment, your kid is learning how to be patient and develop self-control. Those are the most valuable skills you can teach them in the era of smart screen devices.
Children are also learning how to write the results of the experiments and they are acquiring new terms and learning a new language from the scientific field they are investigating. In order to find the answers to the scientific questions, children are taught to consult different sources and to draw conclusions only on the basis of evidence.
Science is very important for the Gen Alphas. But how can we make it become more attractive to the “short attention span” generation?
There is a way. Make learning fun, visual, and competitive. Introduce your kids to educational video games and you will see the results in no time.
Fun with Physics and Video Games
Yes, Physics can be fun, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Let your kids try one of these games. They’ll tell you just how much the laws of Physics can be intriguing and fun!
Games for the Younger Ones
The Smithsonian Science Education Center developed a Tami’s Tower game which is great for all children from kindergarten through second grade. The main idea of the game is to help Tami (a golden lion tamarin) reach some food by building towers. Even though it may look like a very simple task, you will actually need to defy not only gravity but other mischievous animals attempting to thwart Tami’s efforts. This game will teach your child about some basic physics and engineering principles and is incredibly fun.
Amazing Alex is also a great game from the creators of the famous series Angry Birds. The game is composed of physics puzzles that ask toddlers to think creatively in order to create an incredible chain of action and reaction from everyday objects. The best part of the game? It allows players to create their own levels to share with the world. This strategy results in an endless supply of new challenges and encourages creative thinking.
A Game for the Puzzle Fans
And if your child is a puzzle fan, then he will definitely like the Phys1 game.
This game teaches players how to use tools, and their ingenuity, to solve various physics problems. The learning experience is bolstered with its excellent feedback feature which helps guide players to improve if needed.
I have to warn you that this game has a mildly steep learning curve, but being challenged is a great way to learn your little one a science. Each challenge is randomized so you shouldn’t have to solve the same problem twice. In fact, your challenge might be the only one any player will ever have to solve. What makes this game even cooler is the fact that it comes with some other features like a time tool to measure how long it takes for objects to travel between two points. The interface is drag and drop and should be self-explanatory for users of all ages.
Any Fans of Lego-Like Games?
If you have a school kid who is having a hard time with his science projects, you can really help him get those boring tasks by introducing him to this phenomenal video game. Minecraft is a virtual 3D Lego-like computer building game where players are free to make anything they want. This game allows your child to visually see exactly what components of our build are working and to see the theory behind the building. Of course, physically building would be optimal, but using Minecraft makes it as real as possible.
Awesome Chemistry with Video Games
When it comes to chemistry, the first thing that crosses your mind is probably atoms and molecules. If so, there might be a series of games that will keep your child engaged and learning about chemistry.
This game teaches players about the wonderful world of molecules. It comes with the physical component, which is a set of atom models representing 16 different elements. Using the atoms, you can snap together thousands of different molecules. Because the atoms already have the correct number of free electrons and empty bonding sites, it is difficult to build a molecule that doesn’t actually exist.
The video game takes this molecular modelling system to the next level. Using the Happy Atoms app and the camera on your tablet or smartphone, you can scan the molecules you build. The app then uses state-of-the-art image recognition technology to identify the molecules.
Happy Atom game aims to change the way students learn chemistry by offering a learning experience that sets itself apart. While playing this game, children will see the difference between elements, feel the forces that bond them together, experiment with ways to combine them and discover the relationships between molecular structure and properties.
Sokobond is a great logic game in which the player solves puzzles with molecules and their connections through tactical thinking, so it is a great tool for intuitive learning of the basics of chemistry, in a slightly different way from what we learned in schools. The game has over 200 levels of molecules, and it can be played by children who have not studied chemistry before. Therefore it is suitable for younger elementary school students.
Now for all those kids who like solving puzzles, there is just a perfect game which also teaches a little chemistry. Tiny Bubbles is an organic puzzle game where players need to match colors in a cluster of realistic soap bubbles. The player needs to fill bubbles with colorful air to strategically reshape the cluster. You can also break bubble edges and combine neighbors to mix their colors together. When a match is made of four or more bubbles they deflate in an entertaining cascade.
Math video games
Mathmateer is a great smart-device math-based game that is perfect for teaching maths in an engaging way. The truth is that you will have to pay in order to play it, but the small fee is definitely worth it. This is an excellent math-learning game and has long been called one of the best video games for kids for teaching maths. It includes around 56 unique missions that require the player to solve mathematical problems to build and launch their own rockets.
Each mission has touchable objects floating in space, including stars, coins, clocks, 3D shapes. Your child will have to earn a bronze, silver or gold medal and also try to beat his high score. Missions range in difficulty from even/odd numbers all the way to square roots, so kids will enjoy hours of fun while learning math.
And if your child wants to be an engineer when he grows up, then you should probably read my next recommendations.
Video games for future engineers
Poly Bridge asks players to build sustainable bridges between two spots from items such as wood, steel, and cables. The resources for bridges are scarce. Players have a chance to learn how speed, strength, stability and durability of materials work together (or against each other) by solving interesting logical challenges. This brings them closer to the basic principles of physics and architecture, and at the same time leads them to creatively address the real limitations they face.
On the other hand, if your kid is interested in urban planning and building cities, then Cities: Skylines is just the right game. The real excitement comes from the fact that a player can create and maintain a real city whilst expanding on some well-established tropes of the city building experience. This game allows players to cope with the very complex challenges of creating a city they wish to live in. Due to the comprehensiveness of the problem they should solve, it is recommended for the older Alphas. I can assure you that the lessons they learned in this game will be applicable in real life.
Should they play (video games) or should they go (and play outside)
Are you ready to find the right accessory which can provide a complete gaming experience? Then choose the subject and the right game for your kid. Done? Well then, the world of fun and learning is awaiting them.
You will be surprised how fast they will learn the general theory of relativity in practice. Your schoolkid, who might have been afraid of numbers, will now solve complex math problems. Your kids will be excited to show you how mixing baking powder with vinegar can result in magical chemical reactions.
A last piece of advice? Try some of these video games with your kids. You’ll be surprised how fun they are!
This article is part of our series on Generation Alpha
We seek to provide answers to your most pressing questions about keeping your kids safe online, introducing them to the digital world, and helping them be their authentic selves online.
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