Design Challenges for Science Games: The Case of a Quantum Mechanics Game

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Aditya Anupam
Ridhima Gupta
Shubhangi Gupta
Zhendong Li
Nora Hong
Azad Naeemi
Nassim Parvin


The abstract nature of quantum mechanics makes it difficult to visualize. This is one of the reasons it is taught in the language of mathematics. Without an opportunity to directly observe or interact with quantum phenomena, students struggle to develop conceptual understandings of its theories and formulas. In this paper we present the process of designing a digital game that supplements introductory quantum mechanics curricula. We present our design process anchored on three key challenges: 1) drawing upon students’ past experiences and knowledge of classical mechanics while at the same time helping them break free of it to understand the unique qualities and characteristics of quantum mechanics; 2) creating an environment that is accurate in its depiction of the mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics while also playful and engaging for students; and 3) developing characters that are relatable to players but also do not reinforce gender stereotypes. Our design process can serve as a useful resource for educational game designers by providing a model for addressing these challenges.


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How to Cite
Anupam, A., Gupta, R., Gupta, S., Li, Z., Hong, N., Naeemi, A., & Parvin, N. (2019). Design Challenges for Science Games:. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 11(1), 1-20.
Author Biographies

Aditya Anupam, Georgia Institute of Technology

Aditya Anupam is a doctoral student in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Institute of Technology. His research explores the intersection of learning, science, and digital media.

Ridhima Gupta, Georgia Institute of Technology

Ridhima Gupta is a UX researcher at Tableau. She received her master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2016.

Shubhangi Gupta, Georgia Institute of Technology

Shubhangi Gupta is an MS student in Human-Computer Interaction at Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her bachelor’s degree in Interaction Design from Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati in 2019.

Zhendong Li, Georgia Institute of Technology

Zhendong Li is an MFA student in Interaction and Media Design at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. He received his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2017.

Nora Hong, Georgia Institute of Technology

Nora Hong is an undergraduate student in Computational Media at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Azad Naeemi, Georgia Institute of Technology

Azad Naeemi is a professor in the school of Electrical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. His research investigates integrated circuits based on conventional and emerging nanoscale devices, and interconnects. He is also interested in novel approaches to teaching science and engineering concepts.

Nassim Parvin, Georgia Institute of Technology

Nassim Parvin is an associate professor in the school of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research explores the ethical and political dimensions of design and technology, especially as related to questions of democracy and justice.