The activities and resources provided here represent materials developed by the Possible Worlds team to help teacher-participants of the field studies integrate the digital games into their customary teaching of heredity.
This is a suggested sequence for integrating RoboRiot into the topic of heredity. It includes teaching tips and instructions for how to link the support materials with the game and link the game to your regular instruction. The sequence was developed and refined during the classroom field-testing of the digital game and the support materials.
This slide deck is a brief, general introduction to the topic of Heredity and addresses misconceptions about dominant and recessive traits while making a connection between this information and the RoboRiot game.
There are three puzzles in this activity that will give students practice with Punnett squares. Depending on your students and the time available, you may decide to use one, two, or all three puzzles. You could also assign one or more of these puzzles for homework. In this activity, students have to come up with the genotypes of the parents from the given genotypes or outcomes of the offspring bots. This is the reverse of a typical Punnett square activity. The PDF includes answer keys.
This paper-and-pencil activity will help students reflect on their understanding of dominance and randomness. Using imagery from RoboRiot, the activity parallels students’ experience in the digital game, where they assemble their own team of bots to battle the infected bots. Students re-examine the concept of dominance as they revisit which bot wins, loses, or draws against another bot.
Often during a unit on heredity, students study a family tree—usually that of the Russian royal family, the Romanoffs, and the transmission of hemophilia through that family. This activity uses the bots from RoboRiot to create a family tree. The Robot Generations Puzzle illustrates both concepts of randomness and dominance.
Robot Recycler is a stand-alone Flash app that allows use of the robot recycler from RoboRiot to assemble bots and see how they match up in encounters with infected bots. It provides players an opportunity to experience the randomness associated with heredity. This mini-game works well on a projector, and is useful for connecting the game to traditional genetics topics.
The Randomness PowerPoint is a good place to begin exploring the topic and helps students connect the gameplay to this concept. Be sure to preview the PowerPoint before using it, so you will know where to pause to get student input.
Slides 7 to 12 refer explicitly to RoboRiot and use visualizations from it. Slides 13 to 17 show the uncertainty in knowing when a sand Geobot will be formed.
The students’ answers to the question in slide 18, “How many extra tries will it take?” will give you a better idea about how your students are thinking about randomness.
Many genetics units do not explicitly address the concept of randomness. This simple, animated simulation can be used as a formative assessment activity to determine what students understand about this idea. The simulation allows users to enter in a number of car trips into a traffic circle and then see how many trips are safe and how many result in crashes. The app tallies and displays the results. Repeating this simulation can be the basis for classroom discussion about the idea that randomness means that the next event has no relationship to the event that preceded it and will have no effect on what happens afterward. It is a counter-intuitive concept that each event is independent even though there is an overall distribution or pattern.
The Robopedia is a one page at-a-glance resource that depicts all of the bots from the RoboRiot digital game in a trading card format. Each card shows their "phenotype" and "genotype" as well as their strengths and weaknesses. This resource can be useful for classroom discussions about the digital game or the other supporting RoboRiot activities.