Science games: The nexus of science education and science communication?

Science games: The nexus of science education and science communication?

Author: George Aranda – Deakin University, Australia

John Cripps Clarke – Deakin University
Joe Ferguson – Deakin University
Kathleen Hayes – Deakin University
Leissa Kelly – Deakin University
Peta White – Deakin University

There has been a world-wide resurgence in the popularity of board games over the last decade. This has included commercially produced board games and those crowd-funded on websites such as Kickstarter (Wong, 2016). Science board games can be counted amongst those increased sales.

What do these science board games have to offer science education and science communication? Their potential seems promising.

In this paper we examine what affordances science board games such as Organ Attack!, Pandemic and Go Extinct!, offer to science education and science communication contexts. These include potential increases in understanding of the nature of science, science literacy and the use of representations in science.

A pilot study was conducted in Melbourne, Australia, as part of National Science Week, which was attended by parents/guardians and their children who were provided with a range of different science games with which to play. This study offers unique insights into the possibilities of science board game-play between different generations. We discuss feedback from participants in regards to the gameplay and learning of these events in relation to Longnecker’s (2016) Integrated Model of Science Communication, which highlights the importance of the roles of communication, engagement and identity.

This research discusses the potential of how playing science board games could be used to facilitate the dissemination of information, encourage discussion about scientific issues and influence identity in relation to science – issues critical to both science education and science communication.

Longnecker, N. (2016) An integrated model of science communication – More then providing evidence. Journal of Science Communication, 15, 5, 1-13.

Wong, J. (2016). Old-fashioned board games, not tech, are attracting the most money on Kickstarter, Quartz, retrieved from…

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Show, tell and talk
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices