Games, Projects, & Educational Resources

Each of these projects was produced by a team of talented individuals. In the credits of each game or interactive module you will find a complete list of team members.

Selected Educational Games & Interactive Media

  • Outbreak Squad
    Funded by USDA-NIFA, Outbreak Squad, a game designed for grade 5 and above, uses health outbreaks to support civics engagement. Through the lens of food safety, it helps students think in systems terms about causes, effects, and mitigation of foodborne outbreaks. It provides an opportunity to learn how our government supports and directs our communities when foodborne outbreaks occur. It is part of the Hands On – Real World Classroom activities, designed to integrate food safety science into mathematics, science, social studies and language arts instruction.
  • Math Snacks
    Funded by the National Science Foundation, Math Snacks is a research and development project targeting 6th- and 7th-grade students and frequently misunderstood math concepts. This project included development of a collection of games and animations (including mobile apps) and supplemental learning materials, as well as a comprehensive, randomized control trial test evaluating effectiveness of materials and recommendations for classroom use. The Math Snacks project and individual games in the series have won numerous awards, including four Gold awards (Curse Reverse, 2020; Gate, 2014; Game Over Gopher, 2013; Ratio Rumble, 2013) and Best in Show (Gate, 2014) from the International Serious Play Conference.
  • Virtual Insect Collection Lab
    In collaboration with the NMSU Arthropod Collection, our team created a digital educational tool for entomology, the Virtual Insect Collection Lab. This interactive web module takes learners through the steps of preparing and preserving insects for a scientific collection.
  • Water Sampling & Water Testing virtual labs
    Funded by USDA-NIFA as part of the CONSERVE Project, The Water Sampling & Water Testing virtual labs help learners explore basic techniques for water sampling in the field and testing for E. coli in the lab. The labs can be used as training modules prior to a field experience with water sampling or a lab experience with testing for E. coli. They can also be used as part of classroom learning about water quality and environmental science.
  • Irrigation Training Modules
    Funded by USDA-NIFA, the Irrigation Training Modules help agricultural producers explore various treatment methods for cleaning irrigation water for fruits and vegetables. The modules illustrate the ins and outs of each method so users can choose and implement treatments appropriate to their situation while continuing to validate, verify and monitor their sanitization processes. The project also includes an interactive Test Strip Lab for web or iPad.
  • Science of Agriculture
    Funded by USDA-NIFA. After identifying needs based on lab experience, exemplary teaching, and focus group interviews, the team developed online resources for undergraduate plant, soil, and environmental sciences education, including animations, games, simulations, and interactive modules to increase conceptual understanding of STEM content and increase the number and quality of graduates in plant, soil, and environmental science majors.
  • Night of the Living Debt
    Financial literacy game Night of the Living Debt immerses players in a zombie world where they navigate credit, debt, and choices about housing, education and transportation. This iPad game was designed for collaborative play in high school classrooms and funded by University of Idaho Extension and COBank. In 2016 the game won “Best Overall Digital Game” at the Meaningful Play conference.
  • Kid Eats
    Funded by USDA-NIFA, Kid Eats is a fun and interactive iPad simulation for primary school youth to learn the culinary basics, such as following a recipe and knife and cutting skills. The app and accompanying website include easy-to-follow healthy recipes and how-to videos for kids and parents to use together.
  • Eat & Move-O-Matic
    Funded by National 4-H Council. Based on the In and Out O Meter in the popular Eat, Move, Learn: An Exploration in Energy Balance project (, this simple tool is designed to help 4-Hers grasp the caloric count of various foods and understand the amount of time it takes to burn those calories through exercise. Users can randomly play with each of the spinning wheels to discover foods, or intentionally select different foods or different activities to make comparisons. Available on iPad and iPhone.
  • Virtual Labs: Food Science
    Funded by USDA-NIFA, the Virtual Labs have been widely distributed through schools, colleges, Cooperative Extension programs and via informal learning around the world. They are available as web modules and as iPad apps. The original Adobe-Flash versions of the Virtual Labs were used more than 5 million times between 2013 and 2020. Updated HTML5 versions were created in 2020-2021 and are available at

    Project partners found that underrepresented undergraduate students from rural areas often enter labs in college environments and feel out of place or uncertain. Their initial research indicated that this population often had no experience in science labs, with schools limited in funding and teachers untrained in modern lab processes. They theorized that by exposing these students to a virtual lab, they could familiarize students with the vocabulary, tools, and appearance of lab science. The collection of virtual labs (eight in total), gives users the opportunity to engage in simulated science processes (such as gram staining, testing for mycotoxins, or wet or dry swabbing an area), then draw conclusions based on data collected. While the users complete the process in this simulated environment, the goal of the tools is not to educate them specifically in the processes but to build familiarity and comfort with working science environments.

  • Ninja Kitchen
    Funded by USDA-NIFA, Ninja Kitchen was a popular Flash-based game for food safety education with middle schoolers. and has been played more than 3 million time. In January, 2021, Adobe Flash-based games were retired from the web. In Ninja Kitchen, players serve customers in a ninja-themed restaurant, gradually learning different processes and requirements for hand-washing, cooking food to proper temperatures, washing surfaces and produce, and keeping cooked, raw and dirty foods separate. Ninja Kitchen was a finalist in the 2011 Serious Games Showcase & Challenge.

    Based on the success of the Science Pirates game in helping young teens understand scientific bases for food safety recommendations, our team wanted to create a tool that would give youth a chance to practice employing those recommendations in a fun, and relevant way. Initial research and focus group testing established food safety knowledge of the target audience, as well as the types of food preparation youth ages 12-15 are engaged in. Evaluation research on the game showed that Ninja Kitchen was effective in improving food safety knowledge, attitudes and intentions.

  • Don't Be Gross
    Funded by USDA-NIFA, Don't Be Gross was designed to influence mid-school students using social norms. The Don't Be Gross project includes a series of short animations that encourage hand washing and discourage unhealthy behaviors, such as sharing water bottles and eating food that has dropped on the floor.
  • Treadsylvania
    Funded by National 4-H Council and the Small Vehicle Industry Association, Treadsylvania was a popular Adobe Flash-based game that is now retired.

    Our client partners initially requested we create a game for youth who ride ATVs (four-wheelers), making it fun to learn about the safety guidelines (don't ride on pavement; don't ride with a second passenger; use protective gear; ride clear trails). Throughout our design process, it became clear that youth who own their own ATV are likely to participate in the excellent training programs and classes available: it was youth who did not own an ATV or realize that in the future, they would have access to one, who were most likely to suffer a serious accident. We restructured the learning outcomes and goals so that any youth would want to play this game, even if they initially had no interest in riding ATVs. The emphasis was not placed on the experience of riding, but on a movie-monster narrative told through a visual, graphic novel format. Game players must rid the town of a series of monsters, who thwart them by forcing them to engage in unsafe behaviors. Players have the opportunity to, for example, understand the role that shifting weight and position on the ATV has on steering it, coming to understand how difficult it is to steer with a second passenger.

  • Exergames Unlocked
    Funded by USDA-NIFA. Inspired by our work with kids in the Learning Games Lab, we wanted to investigate the potential of active video games to encourage physical activity in a variety of audiences. In addition to funding original research on the physiological, social and psycho-social outcomes, the project has funded over 15 implementation projects, including school-based exergame dancing at the beginning of the school day and exergames in after-school programs and community centers, workplace interventions, and public environments. The website includes videos, product reviews, tip sheets, and recommendations on using exergames with a variety of audiences.
  • Beef Jerky Interactive Training
    Funded by USDA-NIFA, Beef Jerky interactive training was an Adobe-Flash based module that is currently being redeveloped in a modern web format.

    Small-scale beef jerky processors often rely on friends and family members to prepare their jerky. In addition, there is so much variation from one processor's method to another's, it is difficult to issue overriding guidelines for food safety to all processors. This tool, available in English and Spanish, is a effective way for processors and their staff to go through their own beef jerky process, specifying their approach (for example, dry rub, v. boiling), and identifying HAACP points and food safety processes relevant to their own process.

  • Science Pirates: The Curse of Captain Brownbeard
    Funded by US Department of Agriculture (CSREES), Science Pirates was a popular downloadable game designed to help mid-school youth understand the science behind food safety behaviors. We are presently seeking partnerships to redevelop Science Pirates for modern operating systems. This in-depth pirate adventure game offered 2 hours of game play and met national standards for science education. Originally designed to teach food safety recommendations Science Pirates was funded through USDA's National Research Initiative food safety program. Science Pirates excels in teaching science processes, models inquiry-based learning in games, and ends with a culminating activity that applies learned science processes and experiment design to a common problem in food safety - adequate hand washing. An external evaluation with 585 middle school students found the game improved student learning and science inquiry skills overall. Students' low or medium beginning ability improved significantly, with medium effect sizes of .58 and .41 respectively.
  • Chinese Food Safety
    Funded by US Department of Agriculture (CSREES), Chinese Food Safety was a series of multilingual, Adobe Flash-based interactive modules accompanied by curriculum resources and songs. Although Adobe Flash has been retired, the accompanying resources are still available at the website above.

    Aimed at American food service workers who speak Chinese, this multi-state, multimedia education program was distributed nationwide in Cantonese, Mandarin and English. Five games and animations help food service workers internalize important data and change behavior regarding dishwashing practices, rice temperature, accepting safe foods, hand washing procedures, and possible risk in the kitchen. The website also includes animations and downloadable presentations and materials for classroom instruction.

  • Nutrition Decision
    This popular series of Adobe Flash-based games helped middle school students make better choices when selecting food by better understanding nutritional labels, serving sizes and the importance of activity.
  • The Food Detectives Fight BAC!
    This early educational website for kids ages 8-12 included Adobe Flash-based games for learning information about foodborne illness and how to prevent it.