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Linear Algebra & Geographic Information Systems / Turn-Based Strategy

Project Sampson

It's no secret that many students enter college academically under-prepared. Often the difference between dropping out and thriving is whether they can achieve early successes that allow them to see a path forward. One experimental response to this problem is the Borough of Manhattan Community College's (BMCC's) new math remediation class. BMCC's idea was to connect the burgeoning STEM field of Global Information Systems (GIS) to games and simulations that would deepen student engagement and provide opportunities for early success. That's where Electric Funstuff came in.

Project Sampson is the experience "where it all comes together" in the curriculum; where students get to apply math and GIS skills to demonstrate understanding and mastery. The game tells the story of an alternative future, where Earth is coping with a series of unprecedented natural disasters and the player commands the world's response. Using limited resources, the player manipulates the linear equations that underlie each disaster in an attempt to minimize both immediate damage (b) and damage over time (mx). Upgrades, special powers, random events, and geographic data overlays add to the strategy.

Quick Take

EFS Role / 

Game Design

Level Design

Software Engineering

Partners /

Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY)

Evaluation Partner /

BMCC's Office of Institutional Research

Years / 


Funding / 

National Science Foundation (Grant # 1501499: A Simulation-Based Curriculum to Accelerate Math Remediation and Improve Degree Completion for STEM Majors.)

What's Next

 The course  and simulations were beta tested in the Fall of 2016 and are now being offered to full classes of students. Student outcomes will be tracked and reported as they become available.

Video (produced by BMCC)
The origins and goals of the project and a peek into the "Beta" classroom testing.
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