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Hiring Hoosiers: Purdue's 'Pixel Play Arcade' sparks interest in science careers

Classroom to Career
Posted: 5:19 PM, Aug 13, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-13 19:56:51-04
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WEST LAFAYETTE — Pinball, Frogger and Pac-Man are all fun games you can play at an arcade, but how about ones that are entertaining for the kids while also learning along the way?

"They're realistic, they're fun, they're hard, they're challenging," Aaron Byrd, an arcade game player, said.

Fun and challenging are exactly what the Purdue Extension Arcade was hoping for.

"One of the things we've found is one of the easiest things to teach youth about science, or other educational aspects of it, is putting it into game format," Jason Henderson, Director of Purdue Extension, said.

Purdue Extension's goal is to get kids interested in science, technology, engineering and math.

"Make sure the youth continue to be involved in science," Henderson said. "Engage in it as they go through school."

The games focus on health and science — like Good Grains and Creature Roaming Indiana like Hellbenders — but kids don't even realize their learning.

"Like little salamander things that are endangered in Indiana," Byrd said. "I think I've actually seen a real one."

They are bringing excitement to learning and a dream of a career in the making.

"It can be a little arcade game where they learn a little bit about health and the importance of calcium in their healthy diets," Henderson said. "To make them think about that as their career choice for their future, that's what we hope to do."

The games available at the arcade were made by Purdue students hoping to highlight a variety of topics from wildlife conservation to health.

The Purdue Extension Arcade will be at the Indiana State Fair and will also be traveling to local kids' museums.