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Game Play

Note as the players create their shelter and look for supplies,  they will be able to call an engineer at the base camp to get information or to check assumptions, check their computer to conduct “what-if” scenarios for the best shelter construction, and collect inventory items to use to build the shelter (items can be natural items, trees or wood, as well as man-made items found within a certain radius of their temporary camp).

The first activity the team will need to do is create a fire since the team member’s “health” will be low due to cold and they have been out on the mountain since the morning.

Team members will need to gather firewood, and then two or more will need to stand in the direction of the wind to prevent it from putting out the fire. One member will have matches and will light the fire. After a few seconds of a roaring fire, will need to put wood on three times, the team will be warm.

The next step is to begin building a shelter to protect them from the cold evening that is anticipated. Players can move out from the camp to pick up materials for the shelter. Many different materials will be scattered both man-made and naturally occurring. Players will need to choose which are best for the initial shelter (later they may come back for other materials to reinforce or alter their shelter because of changing weather conditions.) Each player can only carry a defined number of items (by weight) too much weight and they become fatigued too quickly. Building the first shelter can involve a “heat flow” KSB.


At random times (need some type of random generator for this), they will encounter a black bear, moose or wolf and they will need to choose from a case of darts, the right one to tranquillize the animal (maybe they also throw snowballs – many of them – seems like it would be fun to do, like a shooting game). If they don’t they will perish. The players will need to plot the size of the dart, distance of the animal and trajectory of the shot to provide just the right dose. If the right dose is not used, the animal may die or they may not have a large enough dart left to defend themselves against a polar bear attack. This can be a graphing KSB.

Note: Black bears spend the winter months in a state of hibernation. Their body temperatures drop, their metabolic rate is reduced, and they sleep for long periods. Bears enter this dormancy period in the fall, after most food items become hard to find. They emerge in the spring when food is again available. Occasionally, in the more southern ranges, bears will emerge from their dens during winter. In the northern part of their range, bears may be dormant for as long as seven to eight months.
Bears are extremely powerful animals and potentially dangerous to humans. They are usually highly cautious and secretive, but if they have a food supply, they may defend it against all intruders. Every year, bears are found in Alaska'a biggest cities — in downtown Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks. Encounters with humans, especially near garbage dumps and fish drying racks, frequently occur. Sows with cubs must always be respected. A rule of thumb is never to come between or near a mother bear and her young.

During the creation of the shelter for the first day (and throughout the game), the players can use a laptop computer they have (with limited battery life) to determine information or calculations using “What-If” scenarios.
Also, they can use the computer icon to activate the computer (this opens to a 3-D simulation.) The in-game "computer" (with limited battery life) can be used to figure things out in a "simulation” to learn formulas or information and then apply it to the in-game situation. They can simulate a simple shelter and then decide what materials they need (wood, metal, canvas, etc.  ...it was a supply plane so lots of stuff is available). The model on the computer will give them “hints” and ideas of what types of materials are best to gather.

Once the team survives the first night, they learn of increasing winds that will precede the storm. So they will need to gather materials to reinforce the shelter for themselves for the second night. To build the shelter properly, they will need to perform calculations (which will be KSBs). They need to gather additional materials for the reinforced shelter. This can be the second shelter KSB for determining wind load on a shelter.


After they build the second shelter and daylight arrives, they learn that the storm will hit the next night and they need to reinforce it again. This time some key materials they need are across a ravine. They must shoot a rope across and cross from one side to another. Need to figure out how much weight the rope can hold and, perhaps figure out an angle to aim the rope so they could slide from one side to another. This may be better than the bridge idea. They shoot a rope across and somehow hang on to it as they cross to get materials. Could they build a zip line? It works well downward, what about getting back up? Maybe they change the elevation of the line once they get across the ravine. This can be a trajectory KSB? Maybe with weight?

The final part of the game is the creation of the third shelter that handles cold, wind forces and snow load. This would be a culmination of previous KSBs learned throughout the game.


A random animal will again appear which needs to be shot with the tranquilizer gun using the correct dart. (recall of information from previous KSB).

Teams will compete with one another based on time and "amount of energy" expended (we need to figure some kind of formula for that).

Knowledge and Skill Builders (KSBs)
Some possible KSBs might include: Properties of materials; heat transfer and insulation; human body heat generation; volume / surface area relationships for various geometric shapes of their shelter; energy content of biomass (wood), graphing, and heat flow.

Perhaps students should build a “test” shelter, smaller than in the mountains and use some skills for trajectory of rope for rappelling, maybe do calculations to determine how big the fire should be and how to start the avalanche so they can avoid accidentally starting one.

Technological Considerations
Perhaps we would open the KBE simulations in an internet window.  The learner clicks on the “computer” button on their screen and it spans another window within the screen that looks like a computer screen and the learners can work within that screen. The idea would be that the team would open their virtual “computer” which would be a KBE simulation and then they would run an experiment or “what-if” scenario. Then get some information and then manually enter that information into the game at appropriate points.