The Project

Entropy is an iPad puzzle game to help high school students learn thermodynamics concepts by using the gas laws at its core mechanics. The game is to be used as a tool for teachers in the classroom, not to replace teaching but to:

  • Drive student engagement
  • Draw out student misconceptions and
  • Spark discussion between students and between students and the teacher.

Over a 15 week development period, we worked with teachers and educators from 6 middle and high schools, playtesting with more than 130 students across those schools for both engagement and learning. The game was developed in collaboration with a dedicated partner teacher and school, Brandon Botzer at Trinity High School, who was present throughout the development process and gave input on design decisions, arranged playtests and collaborated on assessment methods and a lesson plan.

The deliverables of this project included:

  • Game: A polished prototype
  • Lesson Plan: Accompanying documentation for teachers to use in the classroom, including discussion questions, labs and possible student misconceptions related to the game and its subject matter
  • Transformational Game Development Document: Insights on developing a game for learning gathered from throughout the semester

The Playable

While Entropy is created specifically for iPad4, we have uploaded a web build (for Firefox only) for the convenience of showcasing our game. Keep in mind that this has not been tested extensively for Web Player and there may be bugs that do not exist on the iPad version.
Click here to play Entropy.

The Pitch


Entropy is a tablet puzzle game that uses the laws of thermodynamics as its core mechanics to put players in the mindset of thinking like a physicist rather than a gamer through innovative gameplay and design. During the course of the semester, we hope to create a polished prototype for a single piece of hardware.

Designed to help high school science students better understand the concepts of thermodynamics taught in their chemistry classes, the game will challenge players to use thermal concepts such as temperature, pressure, and volume to solve puzzles that address documented misconceptions about the material. Through gameplay, students will gain an intuitive understanding of how thermal quantities relate to one another macroscopically as well as the microscopic basis for them.

We would like to explore the space of creating and playtesting transformational learning games for their effectiveness and gain a better understanding of how games can be used to address documented learning hurdles in a classroom environment.  We would like to collaboratively develop this game with teachers, and playtest with students in our target demographic to assess it for engagement and effectiveness.

This is a pitch project for the Fall 2015 semester at the Entertainment Technology Center, Carnegie Mellon University.