The National Institute of Health has spent nearly $225,000 on a computer game that aims to teach children about clean water.
Meadowlark Science and Education, a Montana-based company that designs science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educational games, received a grant from NIH to design a computer game that will help fifth- and sixth-grade children battle politicians on the importance of clean water in a fictional town, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The NIH grant, which began in July and is slated to run through 2018, aims to engage the children in STEM-related activities while also increasing awareness of the importance of clean water in human health, according to the grant report.
"Improving STEM-focused curriculum is a primary objective of the current U.S. administration and is crucial for ensuring that upcoming generations receive the training and skills necessary to compete in the existing global economy," the grant report states. "To that end, there is an urgent need for additional effective teaching tools able to reach a generation that requires instant access to information and advanced technology."
"Of particular interest to this proposal is the development of a highly effective, marketable, and interactive educational video game (iEVG) that focuses on STEM topics and targets fifth- and sixth- grade students — the age at which interest in STEM subjects is developed or lost," it says.
As the Free Beacon reported, Meadowlark's website boasts an upcoming project titled, "Water Follies: STEM Edition," and describes a game where the user fights politicians about environmental policy.
"You play as Clark Flyer, a meadowlark who works together with a diverse cast of lovable animal characters, to solve and correct environmental issues plaguing their town," the description states. "Clark’s goal is to convince the reluctant politicians in power that clean, lead-free drinking water should be everyone’s top priority."
"Using your knowledge of STEM, you will solve puzzles, conduct experiments, and develop hypotheses to right the environmental wrongs that have affected the community," it adds. "By interacting with the townsfolk, you will make many new friends and learn about their lives. With the help of your new buddies, you can make Holian Falls a town where everyone would want to live!"