CCMuseum-Chronicles

“Cave Creek Chronicles” game screenshot

Who as a kid wanted to explore a historic mine? Or maybe investigate a real-life mystery, meet adventurers from another era, conquer epic challenges, earn rewards and blow up (safely!) a bunch of dynamite?

Now children can do all that and much more with Cave Creek Museum’s Virtual History Playground, an interactive educational resource for online learners using the Roblox gaming platform. Roblox is popular among elementary and middle school-aged children, and the Virtual History Playground may be equally popular with parents because it meets Arizona Common Core Standards and is offered on Roblox VIP restricted access servers.

“The Roblox gaming platform engages students in a safe and enriching virtual environment created by experts with backgrounds in history and education,” explained Cave Creek Museum Development Director Becca Bober. “Students explore the Cave Creek area in the 1800s by walking up to various exhibits in a virtual version of the Museum’s History Wing. These exhibits then transport the student to a challenge that assesses a student’s understanding of local history topics, aligning with the Museum’s mission of preserving and interpreting the natural resources and cultural heritage of the Northern Sonoran Desert. Rewards and additional challenges incentivize students to continue the learning process.”

“Our Virtual History Playground allows students to receive educational screen time while assuring parents that their children partake in beneficial online learning,” added the program’s coordinator Remington Pettus. “The really great thing is that the game design enables parents to remain hands-off and feel comfortable that their students are exploring local history.”

“It is an exciting concept, and I am thrilled that the Cave Creek Museum wants to launch the Virtual History Playground through Education and Community Services (ECS) at Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD),” said ECS enrichment coordinator Elaine Vallario, noting that, “The launch will take place October 1 through December 31, 2020. Our first offering will be a beta test and priced accordingly.”

The Cave Creek Museum program will utilize Google Classroom to deliver the gaming link and accompanying history article to students. “The reduced price is an introductory trial to engage students as we fine-tune game development and Google Classroom management,” Vallario added.

The use of Google Classrooms offers students access to assignments, a streaming forum for questions and guidance, gaming links, history articles that accompany challenges, alerts of new challenges, and allows the program manager to assess program usage and student progress.

The module package is a self-paced learning subscription that provides unlimited access to completed and new challenges for the term of the subscription at no additional cost.

“This program is currently the only children’s program of its kind among Arizona museums,” noted Bober. “This reduced price version is an introductory trial to engage students as we fine-tune game development and Google Classroom management.”

The museum is currently offering virtual volunteer opportunities in the development and implementation of its online game-based history learning program. Interested individuals with experience in writing, game development, project management and education are encouraged to apply on the museum’s website. The program is designed to engage students in second through fifth grade in an immersive local history experience through Roblox gaming challenges that meet Arizona’s Common Core educational standards.

This opportunity aligns with the museum’s long history as a volunteer-based organization that preserves and interprets the natural resources and cultural heritage of the Northern Sonoran Desert. For more information about Cave Creek Museum, the Virtual History Playground, and volunteering opportunities, contact Becca Bober at development@cavecreekmuseum.org.

The initial program, a beta test, Roblox: Learning Cave Creek History through Play – Introductory 4-Module Package for grades two through five, is projected to be available through ECS during October through December 2020 for $28 ($7 per module), a reduced, limited-time introductory price. Visit ecsforall.org for education and enrichment programs and registration, including Roblox: Learning Cave Creek History through Play. Or visit cavecreekmuseum.org for program details and updates.

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