Institute of Play + Mission Lab
New York-based Institute of Play is a not-for-profit design studio on a STEAM-worthy mission: pioneering new models of learning and engagement, the Institute uses games, play and the principles that underlie them to fundamentally redesign the experience of school.
Enter Mission Lab, the collaborative learning studio housed at Quest to Learn, a Manhattan public school itself founded by Institute of Play. Mission Lab brings teachers together with game and curriculum designers to create compelling lesson plans, game designs, simulations, and additional learning materials that ultimately solve the problem of student engagement and inspire further discoveries in the classroom.
“Part of what we do is identify pieces of content that students have trouble learning, and when those areas come up, we work as a team to brainstorm ways to design a game that will help kids really learn and remember those content areas,” explains Game Designer Shula Ponet.
Mission Lab’s game-like learning strategies are more than single-use solutions to particular learning problems. Institute of Play makes many of these designs adaptable for use by teachers everywhere, and interested educators can even download the Quest Curriculum Design Pack at no cost.
“We see kids excited,” says Learning Design Strategist Eliza Spang. “They’re jumping out of their seats; they’re yelling and talking about triangles and the Pythagorean theorem and you can see the energy in the classroom—it is very specific noise geared toward learning goals.”