Zeebi Lab

Zeebi Lab helps middle school students learn basic scientific inquiry and critical thinking skills by helping Zeebis get through mazes. Each Zeebi has different traits that players must deduce in order to solve the puzzles. It features 15 levels and an in-game level-editor so that players can design their own levels and share them with their friends and classmates.

It was built in one weekend from Friday, January 25th through Sunday January 27th, 2013 for the Global Game Jam 2013 at the MIT Gamelab location in Cambridge, MA, USA.

Zeebi Lab recently was named runner-up for Best Online Game at the MassDigi video game competition. 

Description

Zeebi Lab is an HTML5 puzzle game intended to teach scientific inquiry skills and critical thinking to middle school students (age 11-14). Zeebis are creatures that respond to parts of their environment in unexpected ways. Players can modify a Zeebi’s behavior by changing the environment, but only if they learn to identify their behavioral traits Zeebi experimentation.

The game interface encourages players to hypothesize about the causes of Zeebi behavior, design experiments to test their ideas, record their observations in an in-game notebook, and think critically about their interpretations and assumptions. As their understanding grows, players will be able to guide their Zeebis through increasingly complex puzzles.

The game webpage also features a simple level editor, enabling players to design their own puzzles and share them by simply copying and pasting a piece of plain text, short enough for a tweet.

In higher levels, players will be introduced to objects that not only cause certain behaviors, but change the way Zeebis interact with all objects. For example, players can “splice” two Goombas together to remix their traits.

Though Zeebi Lab stands alone as a game, we have designed it to apply to Next Generation Science Standards, and we provide companion material for teachers with suggestions for jumpstarting classroom discussions and utilizing game features such as the notebook and level editor for assignments and activities.

See more about Zeebi Lab at pbngames.com and view my updates here.