Using an online storm chasing game as a vehicle to teach meteorology
This presentation will describe the integration of a no-cost, web-based, online game (Stormslam) in a meteorology-focused, general science course at Purdue University in Spring 2021. In Stormslam, players engage in a virtual storm chasing, moving an imaginary vehicle around the continental United States at highway speeds and planting "probes" at designated drop sites. Scores are based on a combination of observed winds and precipitation at the sites. The purpose of integrating the game into the course was to create friendly competition between all learners (in-person and remote), improve weather forecasting skill, and improve awareness of current weather patterns. Students were further asked to distill their gameplay strategy into a short essay, which their classmates peer-reviewed. Survey responses indicated that the game did indeed increase students' awareness of current weather and their weather forecasting skill, as well as their "meteorological literacy." One limitation of this study is that respondents self-selected for those who played the game most often (two or more times per week). Overall, the game proved to be an effective teaching tool for both in-person and remote students.