Middle School

Virtual world competition stirs STEM awareness

Virtual world competition stirs STEM awareness

Online competition reinforces math and science concepts in fun, virtual communities.

The WhyPower Competition begins May 7 – 18. The online WhyPower challenge has students competing against other students. The class that earns the most virtual currency (clams) wins the top prize.

WhyPower activities are found in Whyville, an imaginary island in cyber space. Teens and tweens register and become “citizens” of Whyville. Designing their own avatars, or online characters, Whyville citizens can chat, play games, or simply hang out in their virtual world. The virtual community contains newspapers, a City Hall, a mall, town square, Senators, and more.

While online, students build virtual green homes, manage virtual power plants, buy solar panels and wind turbines, analyze Whyville power needs, run power lines, and more. Additionally, the online community allows students to learn about the science of energy, including watts, kilowatts, watt hours, and R-values. Math concepts are reinforced, including calculating fractions, understanding the rate of return, reading graphs, and more.

A formal program and curriculum is also available. To learn more about implementing a curriculum in your classroom, visit Whyville.

In the competition, students can complete as many activities as needed to earn virtual currency. A practice site is now Live for students explore, but the actual competition doesn’t begin until May 7. Teachers must register students who want to join the competition. A class can contain up to 35 students to participate in the online challenge.

For registration information, click HERE.

Funding for WhyPower is provided by  the Texas Governor’s Office and the Texas Workforce Commission through original funding from the U.S. Department of Labor; and also by Next Generation Learning Challenges. Next Generation Learning Challenges is led by The EDUCAUSE Foundation in partnership with the League for Innovation in the Community College, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Funding is being provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Download the WhyPower Competition Flyer.
Visit Whyville virtual community.