The Beaty Biodiversity Museum has produced a professionally printed deck of its popular open-source Phylo card game.
Beaty Biodiversity Museum upgrades popular open-source Phylo card game to teach biodiversity
The Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia is stepping up the popular Phylo card game with the first professionally printed deck featuring “characters” from the Pacific Northwest.
Launched in 2010 by UBC biologist David Ng and collaborators, Phylo works similarly to the Pokemon trading cards but instead of imaginary characters, uses real organisms and natural phenomena.
A thriving online community of artists, scientists and game enthusiasts has contributed to the creation of scientifically accurate, open-source cards. Print-at-home cards have been produced by London’s Natural History Museum and the 2012 World Science Festival. The game puts players in simulated evolutionary and ecological processes and allows them to build food chains that may be disrupted by natural or human events such as wild fires and oil spills. Some educators are already using the game as an interactive learning tool in the classroom.
“We were motivated by a study that showed children as young as eight could identify up to 120 different Pokemon characters,” says Ng, director of the Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory at Michael Smith Laboratories. “We thought, what a great opportunity to introduce concepts such as biodiversity and the impact of natural and human events.”
The Beaty Museum Phylo cards, featuring organisms from the museum’s six collections, is available at the museum gift shop for $12.99 (10% off until September 1, 2013). Proceeds fund outreach and education activities at the museum. For more information, visit beatymuseum.ubc.ca/phylo.