In the future, robot golfers compete in the ultimate space golf tournament. Tee off against your friends on alien worlds with changing atmosphere and fluctuating gravity. Master the laws of physics as you upgrade your robotic brain. Discover conservation of energy, aerodynamics of ball flight, gravity, lift, and drag in order to win the Cosmic Open. The target audience is grades 9-12 High School level physics, however, the game can be freely played by younger audiences. The scaffolded learning architecture was built primarily around High School Next Generation Science Standards. The idea behind the structure of the game is to utilize a spiral/scaffolded technique for structuring. This will allow for topics to scale up in difficulty, and constantly build off of each other.
Supporting Lesson Plans
On the atmosphere-free planet of Beta Prime, players witness how a bit of gravity changes things up. Players observe the relationship between velocity and acceleration as well as how differing club angles produce different ball trajectories.
Eurus II’s unstable atmosphere allows players to observe how atmospheric density can dramatically change the path of the ball. Visualizations expose the forces acting on the ball, and the effects of ball spin.
Below is our ‘Galaxy9: Learning Concepts Guide’, a document that provides (1) a breakdown of all the physics concepts appearing in the game, along with (2) answers to the in-game assessment questions. The concepts we’ve targeted are meant to address specific concepts that high school students usually struggle with. Essentially, it’s a cheat sheet for the educator as they go through the game.
Warp Driver Trailer
Deep Space Driving Range:
This is the introductory level, where there are no acting forces on the ball when it is in flight. Since there is no gravity and no atmosphere, velocity and initial impact force are the only physics concepts that describe the motion of the ball. In addition, we observationally scaffold Newton’s 1st law (inertia) and Newton’s 3rd law (equal and opposite reaction). There may be another version of the game that will call more attention to this, but for now that resides in the facilitation guides on Educade.
Beta Prime: Earth like gravity, no atmosphere
Now that vectors and general mechanics have been played through, we can start layering in more physics concepts. On a planet with no atmosphere, the only force dictating the flight of the golf ball is gravity. Spin will not cause the ball to curve since there is no atmosphere. As a result, the ball will follow (after it is hit) a perfect parabolic arc. The equations for this arc are detailed at the high school level in Physics (usually with a ball launching out of a cannon, or a person throwing a football, although the text books usually ignore the atmosphere in those problems). This allowed us to align accurately to the 9-12 NGSS. On this planet students will learn about: Forms of energy/energy transfer, Club effect/Parabolic arc, Velocity/Acceleration relationship.
Beta Prime Hole 1
Beta Prime Hole 2
Beta Prime Hole 3
Eurus II: Earth like gravity, changing atmosphere
From the planet without an atmosphere, we are now adding in a changing atmosphere, which will not only serve to showcase all of the new forces acting on the ball (such as drag and lift), but it will also show a comparison to different atmospheric densities, and the effect it has on a ball that is spinning. It should be noted that there is no standard equation to accurately map out the flight of a golf ball on a planet with atmosphere. The USGA research center has spent years running regression equations in their facility, that created the MATLAB data that we integrated into the Physics engine of the game. On this planet the students will learn about: New forces acting on the ball, Net force/vector summation, and spin. They will be challenged to curve the ball and navigate substantially different terrain.
Eurus II Hole 1
Eurus II Hole 2
Eurus II Hole 3
Prometheus: Changing gravity, earth like atmosphere
Now for the final planet, having already learned about the total forces on the ball during its flight, we focus on much more conceptual physics concepts, and call more upon the student to dissect and answer the final question at the end of each hole. The changing gravity offers a very fun, yet challenging approach to obtaining par or below on any particular hole. It also allows us to focus in on the exact effect that gravity will have on the ball’s trajectory, and how gravity can effect potential energy and total energy in the system. On this planet students will learn about: Potential energy (a closer look), Mass vs. Weight (common misconception), Conservation of Energy.
Prometheus Hole 1
Prometheus Hole 2
Prometheus Hole 3