In our first year, the Games-to-Teach Project focused on designing a set of 10 conceptual frameworks of educational games in AP / Introductory college-level math, science, engineering, social science, and humanities education. The goal of this exercise was to develop a vision of how games could be used to support learning, as well as to research the issues behind developing and marketing next-generational games.

Each of these conceptual frameworks are designed to:

  • Inspire innovation in next-generation educational gaming
  • Provide concrete models of state-of-the-art educational gaming
  • Suggest a range of gameplay experiences to expand notions of educational gaming
  • Be candidates for future development
  • Demonstrate market potential.

Conceptual Frameworks 1-15
Many of these conceptual frameworks have been developed in partnership with MIT faculty with specific subject matter expertise. An overview of these 15 games follows. Follow the link to learn more about each game.



Massively Multiplayer
XBox Online
Mechanical Engineering

Design robots, terraform and colonize the planet Hephaestus. Environmental variables such as distance, elevation, or surface type, correspond to a physics concepts.


Sim Design Tool
Structural Engineering

Learn principles of engineering and physics by investigating virtual architecture sites, solving environmental engineering puzzles, and designing buildings.


Daedalus' End
Civil Engineering Engineering Ethics
PC / XBox Online

Role play as engineers on environmental engineering projects such as dams or highways. Investigate the impact of such construction projects and then experience the consequences through participating in an online, simulated virtual world.

Environmental Detectives
Environmental Engineering
Handheld PC

Play as different parties investigating health problems in their city stemming from point-source pollution problems. Learn the science behind contaminants such as mercuric chloride, the properties of chemical cycles, and inquiry skills.






La Jungla de Optica
Optical Physics
Single Player RPG

PC / XBox

Rescue an archeologist and his niece from a band of tomb-raiding marauders. Players work through the Temple of Light, solving optics puzzles and constructing lenses to thwart the marauders and lead Professor Carlson and Melanie to safety.

Extreme Sports Tycoon
Introductory Algebra / Physics
PC / XBox Online

Use Physics to perform extreme sports stunts such as snowboarding flips or bungee jumps and to design the "booths" where these performances take place. Compete for reputation, collaborate in designing jumps, or debate the extreme sports physics within a robust online learning community.


"Cuckoo Time"
Physics / Mechanics
Action Platform

Use mechanics and physics to lead gnomes through cuckoo clock to catch a rogue cuckoo bird. Power-ups let players experiment with the effects of mass and velocity on levers, pulleys, springs, and gears. Not only do players learn through play (e.g. Rieber, 1996), but through constructing levels for other players with Cuckoo Time!'s level-editing tool (e.g. Papert, 1981).  

Electromagnetism Physics
Puzzle Action

PC / XBox

Race through 3D mazes consisting of electrostatic forces, magnetic fields, and electric fields by adopting the properties of charged particles and placing other charges in the environment.



Life Sciences


Virology / Immunology

Play a virus and replicate inside a host organism-- migrating through the circulation, entering target cells, and replicating inside them. Outwit the full force of the human immune response and maintain a level of viremia that allows you to be transmitted, yet not kill your host, upon whom you depend for survival.


Environmental Science
Multiplayer RPG
PC / XBox
Begin as a junior doctor and become agent for the Center for Disease Control. Diagnose patients, identify the sources of epidemic outbreaks, and prevent the spread
of disease.




American History
Multiplayer RPG


Play a citizen in a colonial Williamsburg. Experience the events of the American Revolution and negotiate their meanings with a virtual community of players. Quests depict the interconnections among the social, personal, and political issues of the era.


Foreign Languages


Multiplayer RPG


 Complete photographic missions in Spanish-speaking countries. Use your knowledge of cultures and language abilities to negotiate with NPCs and PCs to gain access to insider information and better photographs.




Soul Survivor

 You are kidknapped on an alien vessel and are the subject of psychology experiments. Use your knowledge of psychology to train a race of human prototypes and find safety.


Systems Thinking

Game Maven
Systems Theory

Game Maven is a multi-user systems design tool that that enables gamers to systematically visualize, model, and debate strategies for their favorite video games. Game Maven encourages gamers to adopt Systems Thinking as the natural language of their gaming community, thus raising the educational benefits of all video games. Designed to be used with existing GTT games.


Cultural Anthropology

  Dream Trackers
Cultural Theory
Aboriginal Studies

Explore Warlpiri culture by participating in a virtual community based on Lajamanu, an Aborginal settlement of about 500 in the central desert region of the Northern Territory of Australia. Participate in communal rituals, artwork, and customs with other players. To be co-designed with members of the Warlpiri community.




Copyright 2001, MIT