Getting Game-Framed: Colmena and the G-FMS Initiative

Creating Math and Science Games for the Classroom

Many of our games have G-FMS branded on them. That's because, we were a part of the Game-Framed Math and Science Initiative, which started in 2013. This project was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and helped Colmena Design create our catalog of games to be used in remedial math and science courses.

During that time, when we were formerly known as the Hive Cooperative, Colmena worked together with G-FMS instructors to use our games to help teach their math and science curriculum. We also gave students a breakdown of Game Design mechanics, teaching them how to create their own games as study aids.

The project ended in 2015. However, we found success in teaching students to gamify their lessons and study habits. Student engagement and retention in these STEM courses increased, especially when they made their own games. Today, Colmena continues to promote the games we created and participate in workshops using what we learned from the G-FMS Initiative.

About the Game-Framed Math & Science Initiative

The Game-Framed Math & Science (G-FMS) initiative [supported] existing media design curricula at Eugenio María de Hostos Community College by increasing students’ understanding of STEM-based subjects. Framing math and science within game design will serve as the foundation for programming-centric courses and provide students with the skills to pursue careers in game design as well as interactive media. It will re-imagine how fundamental concepts in math and science can be engaging to digital learners. These goals will be achieved through a redesign of current remedial and college level math and science curricula, through the implementation of G-FMS curricula in a Summer Games Institute for secondary school students, and through professional development workshops for college and secondary school educators interested in mirroring our pedagogical approach.

Over the last four years, a thriving program in media design and production has expanded career pathways for students at Hostos Community College in the South Bronx of New York City. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the college has worked to equip students with the twenty-first century skills necessary to more effectively compete in the increasingly technology-driven workforce. With a majority of the student body comprised of minorities, Hostos has aimed to provide students with these vital skills in order to increase their representation in industries where they are currently underrepresented. The Associates in Applied Science (AAS) programs in Digital Music and Digital Design & Animation have had substantial success in recruitment as well as retention. These media design and production offerings have recently been expanded with the addition of an A.A.S. in Game Design. This degree path is the first of its kind at CUNY and explores game theory and development in order to help students recognize and pursue a wider variety of technical career paths. - G-FMS Initiative, 2013

About Einstein & The Honeybee

Summary

Introducing young naturalists and physicists to the fascinating world of bees, Einstein & the Honeybee inspires an interest in Apiology and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Players explore the garden of Albert and Elsa Einstein as they work to pollinate flowers and rescue lost bees while avoiding predators, pesticides, and harmful mites. Players are able to use some of Einstein's discoveries to their advantage as they struggle to save the hive. The world of bees and physics has never been as fun and engaging as it is in Einstein's & the Honeybee, a game for players 8 and up.

Why You Should Care About CCD?

The question you may be asking is, why is CCD important? Why have we created this game? The truth is, CCD is something that affects all of us. Honey bees are dying at an alarming rate. In 2015 42 percent of bee colonies in the United States died. This is critical, especially when considering the fact that approximately one in three mouthfuls of food that we eat has been directly or indirectly affected by honey bees. Not only that, but the economic value of crops in the United States that benefits from bee pollination is estimated to be 15 billion dollars a year. Because of this, we here at Colmena Design strongly believe that educating and engaging people about the topic is essential to taking care of our communities. We hope that our game will help inspire those who play to learn more about CCD and honey bees, and that they take this knowledge to help create a better world.

Message to the Players

This game has been in the works since our first project bought us together - Einstein & The Honeybee: An Introduction to Game Design and Game Development. We are very excited to bring this game not only to you, the public, but to educators as well. You can help spread awareness about CCD. Why is this important? Because every person who is aware of the issue is another person who can do something to affect change. Creating positive change in our communities and spreading awareness will help support the bees! Remember, anything and everything helps. Thank you so much for your time!