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Second Avenue

Second Avenue

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2 Aug 2012 | ROCHESTER, NY– The National Science Foundation has awarded Second Avenue Learning a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to continue development of Martha Madison’s Marvelous Machines, a collaborative physical science game for middle school students that aims to change education. The grant will fund development of the game, building off the prototype built in 2011. There is a critical STEM problem in the U.S., and students are turning away from science, technology, engineering and math early in their educational paths. Play testing of the prototype with urban, suburban and rural middle school students demonstrated a significant increase in STEM affiliation among participants following game play.

In the game, students use creative problem solving skills to complete physical science missions using simple machines. The engaging and industry changing game promotes effective collaboration and communication among middle school students as well as high levels of positive engagement. All of these factors are essential for improving learning outcomes and 21st century skills, which Martha Madison succeeds in doing, while offering students a rich experience with entertainment title quality graphics. Importantly, after playing the game, urban participants nearly closed the significant pre-test gap in STEM affiliation relative to their suburban and rural peers. Under the direction of Second Avenue CEO and Primary Investigator Victoria Van Voorhis, Second Avenue will continue to work in collaboration with Professors Chris Egert, Adrienne Decker and David Simkins from the School of Interactive Games and Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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