Google Science Fair 2012 Submission: Can You Beat Bob?

Uploaded by mfranzs on 31.03.2012

Hi, I’m Josh.
Hey, I’m Martin.
Our project is named "Can You Beat Bob?". We’re both 9th grade students at Upper Dublin
high school.
We both have a passion for programming games, and have been programming together ever since
5th grade.
In our school years so far, we both noticed that educational computer games have slowly
become a growing part of education...
So we decided to see how we could maximize appeal and motivation, and improve upon existing
We thought of a novel idea- to implement a virtual competitor (which we later named Bob)
to compete with the player in educational math games.
We thought that this could potentially motivate the player to answer more math questions,
and hopefully answer more questions correctly.
To do this, we collaborated and developed an educational math platforming game and a
supporting website by ourselves. We got parental consent from 62 4th grade
students’ at a local elementary school, and tested there.
There were two versions of the game-one with Bob, and one without Bob. The students played
both versions, over the course of two twenty minute sessions.
After writing our own programs to compile all the data generated from the game, we saw
that on average, each student answered about 4 more questions with Bob in a 20 minute session,
and the p-value was 0.03.
More interestingly, We also saw that Bob impacted the average performing students the most;
they answered about 6 more questions with Bob, and the p-value was 0.009.
As well, we found that when playing with Bob, students retained interest for about five
minutes longer than when playing without Bob.
However, Bob did not impact the amount of questions answered correctly by the students,
and p-values taken indicated insignificance.
We thought that the short testing time wasn’t adequate enough to see performance-based changes.
These results can only motivate us further to continue and expand our project to more
students and more schools.
In summary, we found that Bob had a significant impact on students motivation to answer more
math questions.
With more interest comes more practice, which leads to better performance, and we really
believe Bob can help improve not only math, but other subjects as well!