Kennesaw State to develop web-based chess game that will teach STEM concepts

Students will learn science, technology, engineering and math as they play the game

KENNESAW, Ga.  (April 5, 2013) — Kennesaw State University teachers and administrators and a STEM education marketing firm are developing a web-based game that will sharpen students’ knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts while the learn chess. The partnership envisions a series of chess competitions and tournaments for K-12 students.

The Advancing the Teaching of Mathematics and Science (A.T.O.M.S.) Center, the Kennesaw State University Research and Service Foundation, Inc. and the Mobile Applications Development Center (MAD) in the Coles College of Business have signed an agreement with Inspiring, Mentoring & Building Resources for Ambitious Scholars (IMBRAS, pronounced embrace) to develop the game’s content.

The partnership will seek funding from corporate sponsors to develop and market the game. The collaborative research and development agreement was signed in February, said Adrian Epps, the associate dean of the College of Science and Mathematics and director of the A.T.O.M.S. Center.

“The overarching goal is to strengthen students’ grade-level STEM knowledge,” Epps said. “The interactive, web-based chess game will be aligned with state and national content standards based on students’ grade levels.”

The game will be called CHESSTEM (Creating Higher Educational Skills in STEM). It is under development, but the partners envision students competing online, becoming chess wizards and masters of STEM.

CHESSTEM will be dynamic and interactive with all the strategies of the board game and the excitement of a scavenger hunt, Epps said.

“As they play the game, STEM questions or demonstration video vignettes will pop up,” Epps said. “They will learn something and then go on to the next move.”

The grade-appropriate content will be developed at Kennesaw State. In addition to Epps, participating faculty are: Solomon Negash, professor of information systems and director of the MAD Center; Nikita Patterson, assistant professor of mathematics education; and Charlease Kelley-Jackson, an assistant professor of science education.

“I’m very excited and eager to get started,” said Kelley-Jackson. “It’s going to be great. We want children to get more involved with chess. Many schools have chess teams. We want to work with those chess programs to make the game more academic.”

It will take about a year to develop the web platform and the content, Epps said.  IMBRAS is a STEM education marketing company. It focuses on the job trends facing the next generation and seeks to encourage students to pursue STEM education and related careers.

IMBRAS will act as a consultant during the research and development of the game. The partners will work together to find sponsors who will fund the development and marketing of the game. They will split any profits from the sale of the game.

“We want to create an educational lifestyle and culture for the next generation of students in Georgia and throughout the world,” said Bobby Boxley, the IMBRAS founder and board chairman.

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 80 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of 24,600 students from more than 130 countries.