Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Perfect Strain

Natural Selection

Jacqueline Schlasner, Cody Garrison, William Thompson, Javier Elizondo, Emmett Mathews, Braden Roper, Diana Gedye | Published: November 9th, 2020 by K20 Center

Learning Objectives

Students can describe how natural selection works and what is required for it to take place.

Students can define mutations, genetic variation, and fitness.

Students can avoid the common misconceptions of essentialism and teleology.

About Perfect Strain

In Perfect Strain, players take the role of a microbiologist in the far future, cleaning up a toxic Earth by breeding pollution-consuming bacteria. Students discover strategies to breed certain bacterial strains in a virtual world.

The bacteria are constantly reproducing and mutating in real time. These mutations are based on real traits exhibited by this kind of organism in nature. Each mission in the game presents new tools and strategies for the player to use. By applying these tools to the bacteria, students can encourage the development of certain traits and then use those traits to achieve their goal.

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Game Resources

In addition to full implementation support, the K20 Center provides the following documents to help instructors effectively integrate Perfect Strain into their classrooms:

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Awards and Publications

Lookadoo, K. L., Bostwick, E. N., Ralston, R., Elizondo Cecena, F. J., Wilson, S., Shaw, T. J., Jensen, M. L. (2017). “I Forgot I Wasn’t Saving the World”: The Use of Formative and Summative Assessment in Instructional Video Games for Undergraduate Biology. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 26(6), 597-612. DOI: 10.1007/s10956-017-9701-5.  

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 License.