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SBIR Phase II: Martha Madison's Marvelous Machines

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1230334
Agency Tracking Number: 1230334
Amount: $500,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: EA
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2012
Award Year: 2012
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2012-08-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2014-07-31
Small Business Information
190 Office Park Way
Pittsford, NY 14534-3626
United States
DUNS: 789017394
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Victoria VanVoorhis
 (585) 419-6530
Business Contact
 Victoria VanVoorhis
Phone: (585) 419-6530
Research Institution

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project proposes the development, testing and commercialization of a collaborative educational game aimed at middle-school physical science students that will improve educational outcomes and increase interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields across a broad spectrum of students. Martha Madison's Marvelous Machines, a serious game based on pedagogical best practices, correlated to curricular standards and supported by lesson plans, challenges students to work as a team to solve progressively harder physical science problems. Sophisticated scaffolding guides learners and helps them achieve full potential by encouraging exploration yet minimizing frustration without giving the answer away. By tracking play mechanics, the game will test for student engagement, enhancement of scientific inquiry skills and knowledge of physical science principles. The game will cover a full year of physical science curriculum. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project addresses a need to ignite interest in STEM study and careers at a critical time in students' education. There is a current lack of research-based, efficacy proven innovative digital STEM teaching materials. Research shows that middle school is a pivotal time for encouraging students to pursue math and science related fields. If interest and engagement in science are not maintained through middle and high school, successful pursuit of STEM fields drops significantly. Math and science assessment test results show that U.S. students consistently perform lower than international counterparts. In addition, women are significantly underrepresented in STEM careers, filling only 24% of STEM jobs while they hold 48% of all jobs in the U.S. Educational games provide a goal-driven, social framework for thinking about relevant topics and practicing skills. Through play and experimentation, games can provoke curiosity, enthusiasm and creativity about content. While games' merits for increasing engagement are clear, their role in improving educational content is even more important. As a scalable solution to a persistent problem, Martha Madison's Marvelous Machines has the potential to significantly impact U.S. learning and achievement in science.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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