Find the Jackalop is a treasure hunt game, using the latest technological advancements in order to create an intrinsically learning experience. The game is based on the principle of teaching spatial thinking concepts, emphasizing in mental representations, transformations, reference systems and giving and receiving spatial related information as well as working with maps. The game requires the existence of two types of teams, each of which develops different spatial thinking skills: The one type is working on reading and finding meaning on the map symbolization, as well as offering directions (Operations team). The other type is working on receiving directions and translating them correctly in order to find the correct path (Adventure team). Both teams need to exchange information in order to achieve their common goal. Participation in one type of team improves different spatial thinking skills. Playing both roles in the game is required in order to develop the whole skillset of the activity. The game is suggested to be played in an area which is familiar to kids, since this helps them find connections between the map and the real world.
The game’s main objective is to find a mythical creature, called the Jackalop. The game requires the collaboration of various student teams, who need to find the footprints of the Jackalop in an area around the school. Each footprint (which is represented by a 3D printed item depicting a footprint or a paper printed version of the footprint) is accompanied with a secret password. When the password is used, a new position is unlocked on thes map. At the end of the race, the students will be able to find the Jackalop. In the game there are two types of teams (Operations and Adventure teams), both of which have different capabilities and need to exchange information in order to find the footprints leading to the Jackalope.
When the game reached a final version, it was tested in the local school of Chadrac with a class of 19 primary school students. Students’ motivation was measured by time of participation during the activity, time of exiting the activity to enter another one and their intention to replay the game. According to these factors, students showed clear motivation to play the game. The motivation was even higher when playing the game on the interactive table. From this pilot activity it became obvious that Operations teams needed support facilitating their work in front of the interactive table, since they were getting excited and tended to lose focus of their objectives, while navigating on it. This observation lead to decreasing the number of members of the Operations team when working on a table. On the contrary, this lack of focus was not observed when working on an interactive whiteboard. Students seemed to get easily accustomed to the interface of the game as well as using gestures for the map navigation. This behavior was also supported by their teacher who had presented similar map interfaces one day before the activity was implemented.