2006 EPO Award Recipient
Alien Rescue - Motivating Middle School Students to Learn Science and Assist them in Developing Problem-Solving Skills Through An Engaging New Media Enriched Space Program
Investigator: Min Liu
University of Texas at Austin
The purpose of this project is to motivate and engage middle school students to learn space science through a well-designed, award winning multimedia program called Alien Rescue. Space science is an important unit in the middle school science curriculum. Through technology-enhanced tools, Alien Rescue, uses a problem-based learning approach to help students learn about our solar system and engage them in solving complex and meaningful problems. Students, acting as scientists, are asked to participate in a rescue operation to save six different species of aliens, and help find the most suitable relocation site in our solar system for each species. Alien Rescue is designed according to the National Science Standards and the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) for science.
Given several years of implementation of Alien Rescue in the classrooms in Texas, we have learned what works and what can work better. This proposal seeks funding to 1) make improvements in making the program more engaging for the students and in providing support for all students including those poor readers and ESL students, and 2) provide necessary training for teachers to use new media enriched and problem-based programs effectively in the classrooms. The proposed the activities will address at least 4 of the 5 goals of Texas Space Grant Consortium K-12 Education program.