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Serious Games Use Hockey Context To Spark Student Interest In STEM Topics

Future Goals - Hockey Scholar Program is a hybrid “Serious Game” and online STEM education program created by The Game Agency in partnership with Washington, D.C.-based EverFi to help students understand the real world applications of science and math principles, using the game of hockey as a learning vehicle.

According to the developers, over the past decade, the number of available workers with strong STEM skills has not kept pace with the demand from the U.S. labor market. Studies suggest that teens lose interest in these critical topics by the tenth grade. Teachers have been facing an uphill struggle trying to compete for mindshare amidst the myriad of student activities and distractions. But teachers can use student interests from outside the classroom in their studies by changing the content delivery mechanism from traditional in-class learning to one which taps into teen passions, specifically video games and sports.

In Future Goals, over the course of a simulated hockey season, students in grades four through seven manage their favorite hockey team and engage with real hockey superstars to apply math and science principles in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

As they guide their team, students complete 12 learning modules that educate them and test their knowledge on core STEM concepts covering data analysis, geometry, life science, and physical science. These topics come to life through real hockey examples that include the dynamics of the ice surface, equipment design, athletic performance, and geometric and energy considerations, all relating to how the game is played.

Students experience simulations where they can manipulate variables and see the impact on specific concepts. For example, during an engineering module, students can manipulate the radius of hollow (how a skate is sharpened) of a hockey skate. Students will collect and graph data in order to determine the relationship between the radius of hollow and a player's stopping speed.

A great merit of the game is using a mostly visual interface to help players learn and then immediately apply STEM concepts, thus eliminating the need of “numerical hoops” and encouraging experimentation that parallels the scientific process.

Future Goals - Hockey Scholar™   fully delivers on its promise of providing a playful context for students to experience how science exists all around them and how learning STEM skills can be applied to everyday life, responding to a few challenges educators face when teaching STEM topics in the classroom. 

Since its launch in September 2014, Future Goals has reached over 930,000 students in 9,300 schools across the United States and Canada. The game is on target to be played by over one million students within three years.

The "Serious Games" is available to elementary and middle schools across North America for free. For more information on bringing Future Goals to your school, please contact info at