One of the best ways for students to learn about biodiversity is through hands-on experience. Of course, teachers can take their kids to the local pond to learn how different aquatic species interact, but what if students could learn about any aquatic environment, such as the oceans, or even the Everglades?
That’s where iBiome, an interactive app by our friends at Springbay Studio, comes in handy. The series of downloadable games helps students develop scientific skills by creating observable, virtual biodomes in a variety of environments.
The first game in the series, iBiome-Wetlands, teaches how the wetland ecosystem protects the environment from external threats including hurricanes and other storms, and how damaged wetlands can cause trouble for the species that live nearby. By monitoring a virtual biodome, students learn how a hurricane-damaged area can be repaired, how wetlands can be conserved, and how different environmental factors interact to create a sustainable ecosystem. They learn about producers, consumers, and food webs by discovering new species within their biodome.
In the newest game, iBiome-Ocean, students learn about the problems currently affecting marine ecosystems. Students build their own tide pools, kelp forests, coral reefs, and open ocean biodomes, all while learning what types of species play what types of ecological roles. Topics such as air and water pollution, rising ocean temperatures, and bioavailability are discussed, as well.
Both iBiome games can be played individually or with a parent or teacher. Co-playing allows opportunities to further discuss the importance of a balanced habitat. The GotScience team played iBiome-Ocean and we loved it.
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—Shayna Keyles is a staff writer and publicist for GotScience.org, a non-fiction editor, and an explorer of all things.
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