Runaway Robot is an exciting new cross-curricular digital game for secondary classrooms from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Anchored in content from the museum’s exhibition Discovery and Revelation: Religion, Science and Making Sense of Things, this interactive game provides a fresh way of looking at histories of science and religion, while engaging students' curiosity, individual identities and experiences, and ideas about the world.
Designed as a choose-your-own-adventure experience, the game challenges students to navigate a series of investigations using primary resources (museum artifacts) as key sources of information, as they develop their own answers to big questions like ‘what is our place in the universe?’ and ‘what do we owe to each other?’. This game provides a place for students to identify some of their own perceptions and biases when it comes to how they and others use religious and scientific belief to make sense of our world.
This standards-aligned game can be used in secondary classrooms to support and deepen curricula. A corresponding worksheet is needed to meet the standards we list below. Please make sure your students know to look out for the yellow stars and numbers on certain pages of the game. Each star will correspond to a group of questions on the worksheet.
The activity time can be adjusted depending on your goals and ways of using the game, with a general range of 20-40 minutes. Used as a quick warm up activity, this game can help prime students to be more open to discussion and new ways of thinking, before beginning a lesson on topics related to the history of religion and science. It can also be used as the central part of a lesson on civic engagement and learning to develop empathy and compassion for others, or to help students grapple with understanding that people often hold complicated opinions that are rarely black and white. Other educators may use this to build classroom culture, kick off a project-based learning experience, or use it to practice thoughtful reflection and metacognition.
To learn more about this game, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Guided by their own questions and curiosity, learners will develop their own pathway through interactive content by assessing summary information about historical resources and making informed decisions.
a. Early on in the interactive experience, learners will consider ways to make their thinking visible when examining complex topics.
b. Through investigations of familiar and disorienting historical objects and narratives, learners will practice responding to open-ended and inquiry-based questions.
2. By examining material culture and archival sources, learners will analyze multiple factors that influence how people come to blend and grapple with religion and science as they make sense of the world and their own experiences.
a. Through exploration of several artifacts, learners will observe diverse and often surprising examples of beliefs and behaviors across and within groups.
b. Learners will identify and reflect on their own feelings and responses to artifacts and narratives, and through this develop a mental map of their own understandings about how religion and science have shaped their own lived experience.
c. Learners will investigate historical artifacts and engage in facilitated dialogue in order to examine different perspectives about religion and science on individual, relational and global scales.
3. After encountering a wide range of historical occurrences presented in the website interactive, learners will be able to map their own ways of understanding the world and through this see connections with the viewpoints and experiences held by others.
a. After exploring historical narratives of individuals and groups experiencing grappling with or blending religion and science, learners will recognize their own perspectives and tools for making sense of the world.
b. Learners will apply new understandings, developed through inquiry and examination of historical objects and narratives, by evaluating their the most meaningful and thought-provoking experiences during the interactive.
c. By the end of the interactive experience, learners will reflect on the ways that religion and science influence our their own and more global understandings of the world through the creation of a mosaic of their experience.
RELATED NCSS C3 LEARNING STANDARDS
D2.His.4.9-12. Analyze complex and interacting factors that influenced the perspectives of people during different historical eras.
D2.His.5.9-12. Analyze how historical contexts shaped and continue to shape people’s perspectives
D2.Rel.3.9-12: Describe and analyze examples of how religions evolve and change over time in response to differing social, historical, and political contexts.
D2.Rel.7.9-12: Analyze how beliefs, behaviors, and experiences of belonging to communities change over time
D2.Rel.5.9-12: Explain how religious identities shape and are shaped by the beliefs people hold, the behaviors they exhibit, and the ways people experience membership in intersecting communities.
D2.Psy.2.9-12. Investigate human behavior from biological, cognitive, behavioral, and sociocultural perspectives.
D2.Soc.7.9-12. Cite examples of how culture influences the individuals in it.
D2.His.16.9-12. Integrate evidence from multiple relevant historical sources and interpretations into a reasoned argument about the past.
D2.Soc.3.9-12. Identify how social context influences individuals.
D2.Rel.6.9-12: Identify how internal diversity is evident in beliefs, behaviors, and experiences of belonging to various communities.
D2.Rel.8.9-12: Interpret how beliefs, behaviors, and experiences of belonging to various communities affect and are affected by other social, political, and cultural forces.
D1.1.9-12. Explain how a question reflects an enduring issue in the field.
D1.4.9-12. Explain how supporting questions contribute to an inquiry and how, through engaging source work, new compelling and supporting questions emerge.