for Teaching Complex Science to Young Children Through

Embodied Play

Funded by The National Science Foundation

Developing a Wearable Toolkit

BioSim Play
Puppet-enhanced role play...
Honeybees and army ants...
Communicating food sources
In their own unique ways
BioSim Simulation

Computer simulated systems

Side-by-side comparisons...
Changing variables...
Relating individual behaviors to the
Aggregate behaviors of the group.

Understanding Complex Systems

e-Puppets: First person perspective
Interactive Software: Third person perspective


Complex systems in a honeybee hive


The foraging ecology of army ants


Food Web Dynamics

Latest News

The info about indoor positioning and new funding will go here.

  • A child’s greatest achievements are possible in play. ~ Lev Vygotsky

  • The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge. ~ Seymour Papert

Research Nuggets
  • The design of BeeSign was guided by Activity Theory [which] highlights the fact that individuals learn through social interaction and that various tools mediate interaction.


  • At the heart of the design process … lies a very simple assumption—that young children can engage in rich, complex science when the activity system supports it

    Life in the Hive

  • Honeybees were selected as a topic because they are familiar to young children and also represent a number of complex-systems related concepts. Most relevant to the current study is the way that honeybees communicate the location of flower nectar using a form of dance.


  • Biologists have documented that bees and other insects will engage in behaviors that … favor the hive as a whole. Our findings suggest that when game play mirrored this collaborative organization, it promoted more engaged, positive, and reflective play.

    Collaborative Gaming