Water Bears EDU, Schell Games’ Newest Educational Game, to Make a Splash on GlassLab Games Platform


Mobile 3D puzzle game gives students hands-on experience with Systems Thinking concepts

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (March 26, 2015) – Today Schell Games is pleased to announce the release of their game Water Bears EDU on the GlassLab Games platform. ­­­­­­­Water Bears EDU is a 3D puzzle game for the iPad®, designed to enhance systems thinking skills in middle school students. Systems thinking, or the understanding of the interdependency of related elements within the world or an organism, can be used to develop knowledge in a myriad of subjects, such as science and math.

Schell Games was one of only six game developers asked to participate in the beta release of the GlassLab platform. “We are thrilled to be part of this new endeavor to assist teachers with finding games appropriate for their classrooms,” remarked Jesse Schell, CEO and founder of Schell Games. “Games are proving to be an important part of education in the 21st century. Game-based learning gives children the freedom to experiment, and fail or succeed, in a safe, comfortable environment that allows them to thrive at their own pace. As a mobile educational game, Water Bears EDU is poised to be an exceptionally useful tool for educators, especially those teaching STEM subjects.”

The game features creatures called water bears, or tardigrades, which are microscopic organisms that can survive in the bleakest circumstances. These organisms, being very resilient, are able to expel all the water from their bodies, and in doing so, can survive in the most outrageous conditions, from extreme temperatures to outer space. In the game, these creatures have been reimagined, taking on a whimsical persona, to engage players in a lighthearted manner appropriate for middle school students.

The gameplay in Water Bears EDU starts off simply, allowing the players to level up to more difficult challenges. Each puzzle starts with a set of water bears that are sad, dehydrated, and desperately in need of water. Players are tasked with configuring pipes to redirect water directly to the water bears, making them hydrated and happy. Water Bears EDU features special challenge puzzles, giving players more opportunities for developing their systems thinking skills. Spatial reasoning and color theory are two additional concepts addressed in the game.

“Although we’ve worked on many educational games, it was a new experience for our team to be working on a game designed to be used specifically in middle school classrooms. We learned so much by playtesting with local teachers and students, and it was amazing to see a whole classroom full of kids engaged with the game and eager to learn,” explained Jason Pratt, director of the Water Bears EDU project.

Water Bears was developed in collaboration with the Creativity Labs at Indiana University in Bloomington, who served as the lead subject matter experts on the project, and is based on a prototype funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The game was originally conceived by a team of students from the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. Water Bears EDU comes with real-time reports, a teacher’s guide, and sample lesson plans that can easily complement or supplement an educator’s existing curriculum. These instructional resources help make learning visible, and are available on the GlassLab website.

GlassLab brings together leaders in commercial games and experts in learning and assessment to leverage digital games as powerful, data-rich learning and formative assessment environments. The Lab represents a groundbreaking collaboration between Institute of Play, the Entertainment Software Association, Electronic Arts, Educational Testing Service, Pearson’s Center for Digital Data, Analytics & Adaptive Learning and others. GlassLab is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

In addition to appearing on the GlassLab Games platform, a stand-alone version of Water Bears is available in the App Store.

About Schell Games
Schell Games is a full-service game design and development company with a focus on creating transformational games and innovative, interactive experiences. Founded in 2002 by world-class game designer and renowned author Jesse Schell, the studio, based in Pittsburgh, PA, heralds a highly talented array of artists, programmers, producers, and game designers. Schell Games specializes in creating memorable experiences through mobile, PC, console, handheld, online and social games, interactive theme park attractions, internet-enabled toys and virtual worlds. The company counts some of the world’s most respected brands as clients, such as Yale University, SeaWorld Entertainment, The Fred Rogers Company, The Walt Disney Company and Microsoft Corporation. For more information on Schell Games, visit or contact us at

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