Twinkl develops AR game to teach STEM subjects

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Sheffield-based digital educational publisher Twinkl has launched a multiplayer augmented reality (AR) game to teach children science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

ARchitect can be played by up to four people and invites players to create structures using different materials, such as wood and ice, while facing challenges and adverse conditions.

The game introduces concepts such as structural integrity and provides a platform to learn real-world physics, as players create towers, bridges and boats in a three-dimensional (3D) world created with AR.

“ARchitect was inspired by the challenge often used in schools to build the tallest tower out of marshmallows and uncooked spaghetti,” explained Pete Casson, chief technology Officer at Twinkl.

“The main benefit of using ARchitect is that it allows children to build things that would otherwise be impossible, such as the biggest tower in the world made of wood or a bridge made entirely of ice, all in 3D”

Pete Casson, chief technology Officer at Twinkl

“The game hasn’t been designed to replace such activities but to be used alongside them. The main benefit of using ARchitect is that it allows children to build things that would otherwise be impossible, such as the biggest tower in the world made of wood or a bridge made entirely of ice, all in 3D.”

“They can then experiment with how these structures withstand different weights and conditions and how the different materials interact. The game provides a foundation for the methods used in real-life construction and engineering, on the same scale and with the same materials. The game was created to provide an exhilarating experience, to inspire children to explore STEM subjects further in the future.”

Designed for young children attending school, ARchitect supports different lessons and a number of curriculum aims in science, maths and design technology. It can be played by one to four players at once, meaning children can work together or challenge each other to create different structures, which encourages collaboration and communication.

ARchitect is available to download for free from the Apple App Store. The game was created using Apple’s new iOS 12 operating system and can be used on the latest Apple devices on the system.

Casson added: “Twinkl has explored AR in the classroom for some time now, seeing its potential as a technology that is becoming increasingly accessible, has a low cost, is easy to use and has huge scope in terms of how it can be used in lessons.”

“We believe technology can be used to aid learning in all subject areas and alongside a range of teaching methods and styles. Twinkl always works with the teaching community on any product we design and we will continue to work with educators and children as we explore how augmented reality can be used to support teachers and enhance learning.”