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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