Science through Technology Enhanced Play (STEP)

About STEP

In the Science through Technology Enhanced Play (STEP) project, we are investigating how embodied play among elementary school students can be used to help them understand scientific phenomena (e.g., the working of forces, complex behaviors of bees).

Below is an image of a recent implementation of our most recent version, GEM-STEP, in action. Here you can see children in the classroom pretending to be fish. As they do this, the GEM-STEP system tracks their locations using tags on their hats and uses that information to control fish in the simulation at the bottom of the image. This simulation is then projected for the students to see as they play. In this activity, the students are exploring how the fish in a pond ecosystem are dependent on the algae for survival, and how the algae are in-turn dependent on the sun. Our theoretical framework for embodied learning (Danish et al., 2020) highlights how youth learn in this kind of activity by attending to both their individual embodied experience of moving around, and their social, collective experience of coordinating their movement as they explore this system.

Image of children in a classroom  using GEM-STEP and the GEM-STEP screen

This video illustrates using the STEP-BEES platform:

The STEP Project is the result of a series of grants including:

Note that this work extends our prior work on the Learning Physics through Play (LPP) Project.

Funding for the the iterations of the STEP Project

Grant Name Funding Agency Grant Number Co-PIs
Generalized Embodied Modeling to support Science through Technology Enhanced Play NSF 1908632 & 1908791 Joshua Danish, Noel Enyedy, Corey Brady
DIP: Interactive Science through Technology Enhanced (ISTEP) NSF 1628918 Joshua Danish, Noel Enyedy
EXP: Promoting Learning through Annotation of Embodiment (PLAE) NSF 1522945 Joshua Danish, Noel Enyedy
DIP: The Science Through Technology Enhanced Play (STEP) NSF 1323767 Joshua Danish, Noel Enyedy