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The ARIN-561 project aims to advance the integration of the education of math within the context of artificial intelligence (AI) for high school students. Being proficient in the language of AI is key to a workforce that will be able to continue to innovate and to support the AI-powered technology infrastructure and eco-system. AI builds on the foundation of mathematics. By illustrating how math concepts can be used in powerful AI tools to solve computational problems, learning math through AI can be a motivational and educational vehicle to illustrate the pathway from K-12 STEM education, to post-secondary STEM education, and later to STEM careers. 

Learning Environment

ARIN-561 is a 3D role-playing game built on Unity. In the game, students play as a space-faring scientist crash landed on an alien planet, named ARIN-561. In order to safely return home, the scientist begin exploring the planet to gather resources needed to repair the broken ship while uncovering the mystery of the planet. The activities for survival and for exploration form the basis for the tasks the students carry out in the game, with challenges such as searching for missing spaceship parts or cracking passwords serving as natural opportunities for the introduction of search as a topic.

The current implementation of the game covers three classical search algorithms: breadth-first search, depth-first search, and greedy search. Each topic consists of two modules: a tutorial module and a transfer module. In a tutorial module, students are first introduced a practical problem the player character faces. Through the player character's internal monologue and their dialogue with the companion robot, students are scaffolded through the abstraction, automation, and analysis process, which are key to computational thinking. In the transfer module, the students are presented with a problem from a domain different than the tutorial that requires the students to use the algorithms they have learned through the tutorial task. Students are provided with less tutorial support during this task and need to apply internalized understanding of how the algorithms they have learned work. 

Learning Objectives

Activities in the game aim to achieve three learning objectives. These learning objectives are designed to serve the students' learning needs, based on the relationship they have and will have with AI (e.g., AI Users, AI Implementers, and AI Researchers). 

  • Gain understandings of how AI algorithms are used to solve problems in the real world.

  • Learn to weight the strengths and weaknesses of AI algorithms in order to choose between them during AI problem-solving.

  • Develop high-level knowledge of how AI algorithms work. 

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