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The Minnesota Zoo and eduweb are partnering to develop WolfQuest, an innovative new project that brings the immersive, compelling drama and action of video games to informal science learning while creating a model for nationwide distribution. Designed for players age nine to adult, WolfQuest will teach wolf behavior and ecology through its exciting gameplay and intense social interactions.

Image: screenshot of the WolfQuest interactive
WolfQuest's three major components comprise a powerful informal learning experience:

  • WolfQuest Game: WolfQuest is 3D wildlife simulation game. Players join a wolf pack made up of friends or computer-controlled wolves and, through trial and error, instinct, and experience, learn to maximize both individual and pack survival. Each player discovers how to compete or cooperate, challenge or submit, and defend or attack during complex interactions within the pack. Players find they must balance individual and pack needs in order to increase their collective ability to hunt, defend territory, avoid danger, and protect their young. As they respond to challenges presented by their environment, players will experientially learn about habitat quality, prey populations, and the impact of human presence on the landscape. As they explore a variety of strategies to succeed in the game, players will exercise critical thinking and inquiry skills. Gameplay will create a strong emotional connection between players and wolves, changing player's attitudes toward wolves and habitat conservation in the real world. See Game Features >

  • WolfQuest Web Site: The WolfQuest game will be focus of a game community Web site where players can learn about the game and download the latest version, as well as post tips and strategies, ask questions of wolf experts, share personal wolf artwork and stories, test their wolf knowledge with online polls and quizzes, compete for prizes, and participate in partner promotions. Also on the site will be background information about wolf ecology and conservation and educational materials for classroom use.

  • WolfQuest Network: WolfQuest's impact will be greatly expanded by a national network of Informal Science Education (ISE) institutions. Each institution will publicize the project to current and expanded audiences in its region. Versions of the WolfQuest Web site customized for each network member will promote the institution's wolf-related programs, foster regional social interaction online, and provide data for evaluation.

The WolfQuest game will be released in December 2007 as a free downloadable game for Macintosh and Windows computers.

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WolfQuest is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation under grant number 0610427.

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