GlassLab Launches Futuristic Adventure Game to Promote Interest in STEM While Teaching Common Core Persuasion and Reasoning Skills

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Developed in collaboration with NASA, “Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy” brings STEM content into the English Language Arts classroom, and helps middle schoolers develop the persuasion and reasoning skills that are critical for any 21st century career

Today, GlassLab announced the launch of a new tablet-based English Language Arts game developed in collaboration with NASA. The game was launched at the 11th annual Games for Change festival in New York City, a conference celebrating games with social impact.

Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy, which was created by learning experts and game designers at GlassLab, is a futuristic adventure game that uses NASA’s expertise in robotics, planetary science and the possibility of life on Mars to develop critical thinking skills that are essential for STEM careers. The game transports students to Mars in the year 2054, where they will live among people in the planet’s first city, and learn how to be an informed citizen and responsible leader.

Players take on the persona of a new student at Argubot Academy, the city’s middle school. There, each player will have to make very adult decisions about the building and governance of the city, for example: What type of food should the citizens cultivate? What form of entertainment makes the most sense for the population in the city? Which pets are best suited to the environment on Mars?

Players have to build sound arguments for every choice they make – but in this city on Mars, people settle their differences by equipping their robot assistants with claims and evidence for battles of the wits.

Using information from the Mars Exploration Program in consultation with NASA’s experts, players will methodically construct arguments in order to learn how to match evidence to claims, how to make a valid argument, how to recognize the strengths of different types of arguments, and how to make decisions collaboratively.

Though the game is aligned to Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy will be infused with stealth STEM content from NASA’s extensive library of educational resources. GlassLab and NASA believe that creating a realistic vision of Mars will pique interest in planetary science and in STEM subjects, while at the same time teaching kids the leadership and critical thinking skills necessary for achievement in any 21st century career.

“Our story emphasis will be on problem solving and social decision making in a small community,” GlassLab General Manager Jessica Lindl said. “We hope to inspire the astronauts of the future by showing that skills like collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving are going to be the 21st century skills at work in space as well as on Earth.”

Argubot Academy is now available for iPad. Visit the App Store to download a preview of Episode 1. A full suite of Teacher Tools will be available in mid-May.

New York City-based families and visitors are invited to play the game at the Games for Change Public Arcade at the Tribeca Family Festival street fair on April 26.

GlassLab is a groundbreaking collaboration between the nonprofit Institute of Play, the Entertainment Software Association, Electronic Arts, and learning experts from Educational Testing Service and Pearson’s Center for Digital Data, Analytics & Adaptive Learning, among others. Established in 2012 with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GlassLab researches and develops digital game-based learning and assessment tools that engage students in innovative ways and reinforce the core skills deemed critical by states for college and the 21st century workplace.

In November of 2013, GlassLab released SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!, the first of a new generation of educational games built to meet the needs of today’s students and teachers. Teachers today are expected to teach and assess new skills, such as creative problem solving, collaboration and systems thinking, and master new technologies. GlassLab will address these new challenges by creating dynamic new game-based tools that make the most of classroom technology and engage students while providing teachers with real-time assessments of Common Core skills that they can trust for guiding instruction.

For more information on Argubot Academy, visit

GlassLab brings together leaders in commercial games and experts in learning and assessment to leverage digital games as powerful, data-rich learning and formative assessment environments. The Lab represents a groundbreaking collaboration between Institute of Play, the Entertainment Software Association, Electronic Arts, Educational Testing Service, Pearson’s Center for Digital Data, Analytics & Adaptive Learning and others. GlassLab is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. More information is available at


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