Puzzle Game Playtest

August 12, 2019
  • Does your  middle schooler love solving puzzles?
  • Does your kid leap at the chance to play games with other kids?
  • Is your child excited about creative problem-solving games?

Then, come to the Playful Journey Lab at MIT for a play test session of three collaborative puzzle solving games!

What are the games? Three 15 minute collaborative puzzle games that will involve 1 or 2 other kids of a similar age. The games are called “Survival Kit”, “Relief Aid Delivery”, and “Spanning Bridge”.

Who can play? Anyone age 10-15. If your child has 1-2 siblings or friends who can all come together, that would be ideal! If not, we will try to coordinate schedules to form groups.

When are the games? Games will last about 1 hour and are flexibly scheduled during the last two weeks in August, 8/19-8/30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between the hours of 10:00am – 6:00pm. Call (617) 797-2461 or email Kate at kh2122@tc.columbia.edu to schedule your play test.

Where are the games? 600 Technology Square, 2nd Floor – a short walk from the Kendall T stop, or usually metered parking can be found.

Why are we play testing these games? Researchers at MIT and Teachers College, Columbia University are testing tools for audio recording collaborative processes in middle school classroom settings. This play test is the first step in a series of usability tests we are running to test our microphones!

What can I expect to happen? Several kids of similar ages will arrive on the predetermined day of the playtest. They will be given wearable microphones, which our research assistant will help them put on as needed. Kids will be recorded in 15 minute intervals only during game-play.

Kids will work together in small groups of two or three to complete all three activities. First, they will playtest “Survival Kit” in which they will work together to create a list of supplies needed to survive a particular natural disaster. Second, they will playtest “Relief Aid Delivery” in which they will work together to design the best delivery route for the survival packs they just designed to villages scattered across a map. Third, they will playtest “Spanning Bridge” in which they will work together to build a model spanning bridge out of gumdrops and toothpicks across a geologic feature initially encountered as an obstacle on their map. All games will be limited to 15 minutes.

Adults are welcome to stay and observe the playtest, or to leave and come back at the end. The research assistant will also supervise and support as needed. She is a former middle school Science teacher certified by the Department of Education.   

How will my child’s privacy be protected? We will be recording the audio from their playtests to determine the usability and feasibility of our microphones for future studies. All audio gathered from this playtest will be anonymized, which means the research assistant will use sound editing software to permanently remove any names or references to personal identifiers from the sound file. Personally identifying information will not be gathered during the playtest. Data collected will not be used in research publications, only for improving the data collection methods and activity designs. Parents/guardians will be asked to sign a consent form, and optionally a media release form.


To sign up or for any questions, contact Kate Moore, a summer fellow in the MIT Playful Journey Lab. Cell: (617) 797-2461, Email: kh2122@tc.columbia.edu