In “LittleBigPlanet,” players at the adventure level Sackboys and The Mysterious Proof must escape from the Proof family’s century-old mansion by solving a series of puzzles through deductive reasoning.
Designed for 9th- or 10th-grade students, the game gives players a chance to put their geometric knowledge to the test and collaborate on a series of levels that emulate the steps of a mathematical proof.
Sackboys creator Kang Yang Li, a games researcher and instructor in the school of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design, says that because “LittleBigPlanet” allows kids to build their own levels, it encourages an exciting kind of self-directed learning.
“I constantly see kids playing through levels, and they see this amazing trap, and they want to create it in game level,” Li recently told Spotlight. “And they will spend time figuring out how to make them—how to apply joints and motors to these same structures so [they] can create exactly the same thing that [they] saw in the game. Kids are willing to spend time learning themselves.”
Sackboys and the Mysterious Proof recently won a Game Changers Award for a new and creative game play experience that leverages principles of science, technology, engineering and math. The award was part of the 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition.
Li, who conducts research at Gaming SMALLab at the Quest to Learn School, a games-based charter school in New York City, says its important that game designers think about how their games will be used in an educational setting and ask questions such as: “How do you present it to kids? How do you hold discussions at the end of the game play?”
He notes that it’s often the introductions and post-play guided discussions that make the difference in ensuring an enriching educational experience.
Watch the full interview with Li above, and check out Sackboys and The Mysterious Proof here: