Targeting California state standards for earth science and geoscience, this interactive game utilizes technology to teach players about and plate tectonics. Players will challenge their creative problem solving skills through sophisticated game play and have their learning reinforced through this multi-sensory teaching tool. This module is designed to bring misconceptions about traditionally challenging geoscience concepts to the surface, and includes opportunities for players to correct their understanding through experience and interaction.

Pangean is a didactic puzzle game used to introduce the concept of continental drift before moving on to plate tectonics. As a galactic member of the United Colonies, players will travel the universe in their own scouting ship—using their hologram interface to piece together continents and demonstrate the shift that occurs over a hundred million years. Initial levels will consist of simple moving and rotation of landmasses, but as difficulty increases players will be armed with advanced tools for additional insight.

Using translation and rotation tools, they move the continents back to their original positions. In subsequent levels, the shape information becomes inadequate to solve the puzzle, and an additional tool is introduced–a “probe”–that reveals fossils in the continents. With this additional information, the puzzles become solvable. The third form of evidence students learn to use is the shape of the continental shelf, which students can see by scanning with sonar. Each level increases in complexity, with the final level being to return present-day Earth to its Pangea state. To do so, students must make use of all three kinds of evidence–shape, fossils, and continental shelves–as well as translation and rotation.

PANGEAN from GameDesk on Vimeo.


Learning through Action

  • Interactive animation based learning allows students to physically move plate tectonics and observe the resulting features on the planet’s surface through the touch screen of a tablet
  • Linking tactile actions to learning objectives—resulting in greater understanding and retention of complex material.
  • Scaling difficulty introduces new concepts fluidly and later tests understanding through application.


Next Generation Science Standards

MS-ESS2: Earth’s Systems

MS-ESS2-3. Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.