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New ‘minecraft-inspired’ geology game at Sudbury library

New game designed to generate interest in earth sciences developed by Laurentian University’s Harquail School of Earth Sciences

Sudbury's Harquail School of Earth Sciences has created a new game to get more young people interested in geology and other geoscience subjects.  

The game consists of a box of rocks and bilingual clue cards. The game is touted as a "Minecraft inspired" rock identification game, said the news release from Laurentian University.

"The game was conceived and developed by Tobias Roth, a Geoscience Technologist at Laurentian University, with funding support from the Canadian Geological Foundation (CGF). The idea to develop these Rock ID game sets started on a hike with kids that were around 10 years old and who loved collecting rocks, especially those they knew from playing Minecraft. The project then came to fruition through the generous support from the CGF," said the release.

Roth created the first version of the game during the pandemic and sent it to teachers to share it with students or use it during virtual classes and earth science outreach events. Roth said he was able to refine the game with input from players, teachers, and earth science students and colleagues at Laurentian. 

"Everyone has been really enthusiastic about the game, the box, and the rocks inside,” Roth said. 

“Many young children and teens are familiar with rocks like obsidian, granite, and diorite through playing the Minecraft video game, but many have never actually seen or held them in real life. The new Minecraft-inspired identification game has turned out to be a fun, hands-on way for youth to learn more about rocks and minerals and what they’re used for," Roth added.

The game can be played by a group so that children can challenge their friends and family members, but it can also be played by a single player, said the release. 

Sudbury residents can find the game at all 13 branches of the Greater Sudbury Public Library, said Chantal MacRae, Child and Youth Programmer for the library.

"The Greater Sudbury area is defined by rich mineral deposits so this partnership is a great way to provide an educational resource about the rocks under our feet. This Minecraft-inspired identification game is a welcome addition to resources available to the library that help provide educational and fun activities for library patrons of all ages to engage in while visiting the library," said MacRae.


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