Children master the physics of inclined planes when they learn to skate but the formal knowledge of the simple laws that apply remain dark, mysterious and boring. Could we reveal the inner potential of one of the simplest and most capable machines of human history? The time for surprise came when we tried to separate the different parameters of a ramp into the different screens of a video game against ButMan.
Can we get children into the flow of a video game and make them learn physics?
RecortableMan is a constructivist and open videogame designed to explain inclined planes to children aged between 5 and 7. The different variables that take place in ramps and skateboards are presented in an isolated way so that its understanding is easier: friction, height, weight and angle. Real experiments and competitions with other super heroes are included in order to certify the learning objectives. It pursues a learning by doing, experimenting and discovering focusing each content unit on a key concept. Later on in the videogame several of these firstly isolated key concepts will have to be combined to solve the higher levels.
Opportunity & motivation
What do video games have that make children learn very difficult things in order to play them for hours?
What do video games have that make children learn very difficult things in order to play them for hours? In this project, that I consider a beautiful failure, I tried to explore if a video game could make you learn some physics principles.
Designed with my own child’s drawings and paper cut outs I tried to make it look warm and close to children. Having a goal (not awakening the sleeping baby) and small new challenges based on previous ones I tried to make it fun. I also tried to give it a bigger general goal in the sense that the main character should learn to jump and fly for a few seconds with his skateboard.
But the lack of randomness, the lousy interaction and rather boring challenges make it a play-only-once game.