At Penda, we take science learning and student engagement seriously. That’s why our digital science curriculum provides both without compromise. Our activities are hand-aligned to NGSS and state standards and delivered on a gamified platform that incorporate the motivational aspects of gaming to enhance the learning experience.
Gamification techniques, such as points, badges, and leaderboards, are seamlessly integrated into the curriculum to motivate and reward students for their progress.
What’s the Difference Between an Education Game and a Gamified Curriculum?
Educational digital games and digital science curricula with gamification embedded share a common goal of engaging students in the learning process, but they differ significantly in their approach and purpose. Educational digital games are designed primarily for entertainment, with learning as a secondary goal. Gamified curricula, like Penda, make learning the top priority and leverage the mechanics and principles of games to engage students both emotionally and intellectually.
How Penda Supports Student Engagement & Learning
Penda puts cutting-edge pedagogy front and center, employing Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Levels to expand a student’s skill set.
Penda’s rigorous activities have been shown to literally forge new neural pathways in the brain.
The inquiry-based 5E Model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate) is also employed to help students build a foundation for
knowledge and deepen their understanding through active participation.
Supporting Mastery, Step by Step
Penda uses Piaget’s concept of scaffolding by allowing a student to access prior knowledge up front, which then motivates the student to
complete the activity and move on through higher levels of cognitive complexity. Activities are not timed, allowing students to move at
their own pace and without anxiety. Scaffolding also ensures that students with learning challenges and language barriers have the same
opportunities for success.
Our scaffolding system also speaks to Vygotsky’s Zones of Proximal Development, offering students experiences and challenges that expand
their emotional and intellectual reach to encourage new skill-building and growth.
Empowering Students to Take Charge of Their Learning
Students learn best when they are engaged and in a state of “flow,” where challenge and skill are in equilibrium.
When students choose, students learn: Penda activities ask students to make choices on the fly, which enhances learning and retention.
Tap into Students’ Intrinsic Motivation
Avatars, points, rewards, and challenges aren’t just for fun, they engage students emotionally and cognitively. Students also choose
friends from their school or class to challenge within their Penda World, which nurtures healthy academic competition and camaraderie.
Engage Students in Inquiry-Based Learning
Students’ first build their knowledge of scientific concepts with Penda’s activities.
Then, abstract concepts are brought to life with interactive simulations. Students
can not only visualize the concepts they’ve learned but are given the opportunity
to form and test their own hypotheses, thereby deepening their knowledge.
Immediate Feedback... Without Direct Instruction
Empower students to maintain their learning momentum, even in the absence of a teacher, with Penda's integrated feedback system. As students advance in their continuous learning journey, Penda serves as a valuable teaching assistant, especially in distance learning scenarios. Through scaffolded activities, Penda offers helpful hints, tips, and "my progress" reports, bolstering educational settings where it may be challenging for educators to deliver constant direct instruction.
Support Independent Student Learning
Penda is 100% digital so students can learn at school, at home, or anywhere with
an internet connection. When you have teacher vacancies, out-of-field teachers,
and subs, Penda keeps science learning going by auto-assigning gamified
activities that are standards-aligned AND custom aligned to your district’s
science scope and sequence. As students work through activities, they receive
immediate feedback and support to help them build their mastery without direct
Take a Closer Look at Penda Science
[Students] love that they have games. That they get to earn points. The fact that they can compete with their classmates.
Science Teacher, Aventura City of Excellence School (FL)
Kids like it a lot. And what I like about it, we see that it caters to kids of all ability levels. So, the gamification really
speaks to kids that struggle with reading, or other content areas, so the game keeps them engaged in the program and they’re
learning science along the way. And our high achievers like the game aspects and are getting that content as well.
Supervisor of Federal Programs, Clay County School District (FL)
We taught biology for the first time last year in middle school. And we used the content to help with that as well. Our biology
proficiency was actually at 76%. That was just a really awesome surprise and I know that that had to do with the supplementing
of Penda that we used in the class and outside the class. The kids were really into it, so it was really helpful.
Assistant Principal, Duval Charter Scholars Academy
I think the many options that exist in terms of grouping the students, the teams, it allows you to really create that
competitive spirit, and honestly that’s the gaming aspect that the kids like. We’re bringing their world into education when we
do that. For us at ACES, we believe that anything that can be gamified is probably going to drive engagement –– that’s the name
of the game when you’re working with middle school-aged students.
Principal, Aventura City of Excellence School (FL)