In a statement from the nation’s space agency, NASA announced that it has released a new educational game with an air traffic control theme for Apple iPhone and iPad devices. With a strong emphasis on math, the game fits directly in line with the NASA Office of Education’s mission to engage students in activities related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Known as ‘Sector 33’ the app was designed with middle school and older kids in mind. The app makes education fun and interesting by engaging students in the use of basic math and problem-solving skills, to achieve the games objectives.
According to NASA, during game play, the player of the game assumes the role of an air traffic controller. Their mission is to guide airplanes through a sector of airspace across Nevada and California. The player must keep the aircraft at specified safe distances from one another by carefully adjusting the planes’ path and speed, all the while trying to direct them to certain spots in the sky in the fastest time possible.
“Our hope is that Sector 33 will give students a sense of the importance of math in managing our nation’s air traffic and, at the same time, interest them in pursuing a career in aeronautics,” said Jaiwon Shin, NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics research in Washington.
“Today’s students respond positively to experiential learning,” said Leland Melvin, NASA’s associate administrator for education. “Using an interactive game to spark their interest, while at the same time teaching them fundamental math concepts, is a win-win scenario. It is a perfect way to help cultivate the next generation of engineers and technologists.”
Sector 33 is based on Smart Skies Line Up With Math, an educational software title developed under the direction of NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate and distributed in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Smart Skies has been used in middle school classrooms across the United States since 2005.
While the current release of the educational app is only available for users of the apple iphone and ipad, an Android version of the app is in development and will be made available in the Android Marketplace soon. Estimates are that the android release of the app is only a few months away.
The app is available as a free download from NASA at: http://www.nasa.gov/sector33
For more information about all of NASA’s education programs, visit them online at: http://www.nasa.gov/education