STEM-focused augmented reality games for tweens

About This Project

Check out TaleBlazer!
iCSI is a research-based design project developing location-based games, tools and curriculum to help informal educators engage middle school students in science investigation.

Have Fun. Learn. Do.


iCSI is a research-based design project designed to engage tweens in science by playing games.  The mobile games use augmented reality (AR) and game mechanics to help young visitors explore and interact with collections at zoos and botanical gardens.  Ultimately, the games foster deeper engagement with each organization’s science themes and collections.


Youth also design their own AR games using TaleBlazer, the same underlying game engine used by participating museums and botanical gardens.

The following partners have created games and developed programs for use at their sites, aiding in research around the use of TaleBlazer at informal learning institutions:


We are examining how iCSI informal learning programs contribute to engaging young people in science content at the following levels:

  • Have Fun: Build interest in the natural world; play and design challenging games
  • Learn: Gain science content knowledge; use science skills and tools; think like a scientist
  • Do: Take environmental action at home; improve the community; choose more STEM activities


Read preliminary results of the research:


Informal Community Science Investigators (iCSI) is funded by the National Science Foundation under grant #1223407.

Related projects
Games, Programming Tools
A platform for creating and playing location-based mobile games
Grade Range

Middle Grades


iOS, Android, Web browser

Content Area

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Project Manager

Judy Perry

Curricula, Games, Programming Tools