Galaxy Tours

Classroom playtest of a version of Galaxy Tours

Classroom playtest of a ver­sion of Galaxy Tours

Galaxy Tours is the res­ult of a design research pro­ject com­mis­sioned by Noordhoff Publishers. It is a concept for a hybrid classroom game that enables stu­dents to play­fully explore fun­da­mental con­cepts from astronomy.

Exploring the poten­tial of classroom games

The game’s premise is based in a near future when com­mer­cial space flight has become viable. Students play in teams, each rep­res­ent­ing a space agency. They are required to plan trips around earth for afflu­ent space tour­ists. The most inter­est­ing route wins the game, but play­ers need to take into account such things as day-night cycles, time zones, orbits and so on.

Rough ideas being tested in the studio

Rough ideas being tested in the studio

Noordhoff is one of the Netherlands’s lead­ing pub­lish­ers of edu­ca­tional mater­ial for ele­ment­ary, sec­ond­ary and higher edu­ca­tion. They have a well developed digital offer­ing, and approached us to jointly explore the poten­tial of games and play in sec­ond­ary edu­ca­tion. The pro­ject was focused on the nat­ural sci­ences, and more spe­cific­ally on astronomy.

Hands-on approach

In stead of the­or­iz­ing, we chose a hands-on approach, work­ing together with people from Noordhoff and sci­ence teach­ers to gen­er­ate a num­ber of con­cepts and develop and test one of them into a full-fledged ana­log pro­to­type. In this way, any solu­tion we came up with was guar­an­teed to sup­port the inten­ded learn­ing goals, be well integ­rated with Noordhoff’s exist­ing tools and meth­ods, and also be mind­ful of teachers’s prac­tice and last but not least, students’s motivations.

The les­sons learned from this pro­ject can inform future strategies of Noordhoff as they relate to games, as well as our own con­tin­ued work in the domain of education.

Output of ideation workshops up on the studio wall

Output of ideation work­shops up on the stu­dio wall

Final Galaxy Tours map and a few playbook pages

Final Galaxy Tours map and a few play­book pages