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Education Space Games Science

Learning Rocket Science With Video Games 64

GNUman writes "Wired has an article about using videogames to get kids into engineering, starting with Kerbal Space Program, a indie physics-driven sandbox where you build your own spaceship and explore space. I have had much fun with this game the past year and I have actually learned a bit of rocket engineering and orbital mechanics while at it. The article also mentions Minecraft, World of Goo, Amazing Alex, Patterns, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, Fantastic Contraption and SpaceChem. I really like the idea of games that are great fun while fostering creativity and even learning in the process. What games would you add to this list?"
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Learning Rocket Science With Video Games

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  • TIM (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @06:56PM (#42266597)

    The Incredible Machine.

  • Lunar Lander! (Score:4, Informative)

    by HEMI426 ( 715714 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @07:01PM (#42266641) Homepage
    No mention of Lunar Lander?! :) ... No, I'm not serious.
  • KSP FTW (Score:5, Informative)

    by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @07:07PM (#42266689) Homepage Journal
    If you haven't checked out KSP yet, do it now. It is worth it.

    Side note: I showed the demo to a middle school administrator at a yard sale I had a few months ago. She was so impressed, she decided to make the game part of the science curriculum.

    Like I said, if you haven't checked it out, do it now. [kerbalspaceprogram.com] You will (probably) not go unimpressed.
  • Mod Parent Up (Score:5, Informative)

    by kupekhaize ( 220804 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @07:44PM (#42267041) Homepage

    Mods, please mod the parent up. Orbiter is a 100% free realistic simulator that is every geek's dream. It strives for realistic physics (in most cases, there are still some bugs); and includes lots of space vehicles including the Shuttle (which is damn near impossible to launch and achieve a stable orbit on manual control, just like you'd expect). Very entertaining simulator. It has a very extensive selection of mods (http://orbithangar.com is one of the more popular places to find them).

    My friend has modded his version so much that he's built and launched his own Space Station. He has some of the vehicles timed so well that he can launch from Cape Canaveral, and within 26 minutes match the ISS's orbital specs and dock with it. Each time he plays the game he's reloading his prior state and launching new cargo and expanding the station.

    Aside from the Shuttle there are also lots of next generation vehicles including orbiters with SCRAM engines to help achieve orbit and other items as well. There's also a recent mod to add all of the future and planned SpaceX vehicles as well.

    When I first started playing, I was familiar with some math but knew hardly anything about orbital mechanics. Playing the game at first was fun --- there's nothing quite like launching the space shuttle straight up, then turning off the shuttle engines and watching the thing do backflips at 10K off the ground -- but once you start wanting to achieve something useful, like a dock with the ISS you've really got to start to understand what is going on in order to get where you're going.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.