Tyto Online was designed for the Next Generation Science Standards

Explore phenomenon and ask questions to drive student learning.

Tyto Online engages students in situations and questions in order to explore science concepts. Read below about how we use Quests and Sandboxes to learn.
  • Resource Availability

    Students collect evidence to build an argument about why a family of jackrabbits is getting sick.

  • Model for Flow of Matter

    Students collect animal poop to see what they ate and use that to create a food web showing the flow of energy.

  • Mutualism

    Students release bugs and see if they pollinate flowers to determine if their symbiosis is mutualism or not.

Quests where students solve problems.

Quests present a problem for students to solve or a phenomena to explore, letting them collect data to form arguments, implement solutions, take DNA samples, build food webs, and more.

Quests are approximately 10-15 minute experiences that are designed to drive student learning towards specific DCI, CCC, and SEP (all three are identified for most quests).

  • Ecology Sandbox

    Players build their own ecosystems with producers, consumers (pollinators, prey, predators, scavengers), and decomposers.

  • Heredity Sandbox

    Students breed their own dragon-like creatures with over 10 quadrillion phenotype combinations.

Sandboxes where students create and experiment.

Sandboxes are simulation-based gameplay where students generate many of their own questions as they play, represent an opportunity for longer-term projects, a basis for shared experience for discussion, and can be used for performance assessments.

Sandboxes are longer-term experiences, so we recommend at least 3 hours in them across a topic. Students can play in as small as 5 minute increments once they've gotten a Sandbox started.

Note! We currently cover middle school (6-8) Life Science, with additional domains to be added for the 2019-2020 school year and beyond. View Available Content.

Three-Dimensional Learning

Tyto Online incorporates the three dimensions (disciplinary core ideas, science & engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts) across gameplay.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

The content is organized around Modules that are aligned with the topic arrangement and built to address the essential disciplinary core ideas presented by the NGSS.


Students learn the DCIs with activities that engage the SEPs and CCCs in order to learn the content.

Science & Engineering Practices

Tyto Online's gameplay is designed around actively engaging in SEPs. Students must analyze data, create arguments, and engage in scientific practices in order to progress.


Students cannot complete Quests or progress without using these SEPs, such as analyzing data and creating models to complete Quests.

Crosscutting Concepts

The CCCs are being explicitly identified in Quests in order to help educators and students make the connections of these critical concepts across DCIs and standards.

Students use the CCCs in order to progress - needing, for example, to understand them to make accurate arguments (SEPs) about DCIs.

All Standards, All Students

Tyto Online has been designed with the goal of appealing to students normally underrepresented in STEM fields. There is always more work to do, but we wanted to share how we've approached this goal so far.

Focused on Student Motivation

Our game designers develop as if we're just a game that happens to be educational. We've focused on making gameplay people actually want to play, with engaging and motivating stories.


Students can engage in shared experiences in the video game and access it no matter where they live and what type of enrichment their community has. Students can drive their own learning in Tyto Online.

Representation of Characters

The Tyto Academy Scientists within Tyto Online have been designed and tracked to be representative with gender, have a variety of skin tones, and also incorporate global cultures.

Customizable Characters

The students' characters have a variety of diverse options and are LGBTQ friendly as there are no forced gender/sex stereotypes based on body style chosen.

Varied Ways to Show Understanding

Tyto Online also provides a variety of ways for students to demonstrate understanding without being dependent on English speaking or writing skills.

Reading Supports

We've targeted lower level reading skills that is broken into small tweet-size text pieces to be more accessible. We're also in progress on adding more voice-overs!

Increasing Science Interest

Strategies to increase representation in STEM include efforts to improve growth mindset (or the idea that intelligence is built, rather than fixed), developing spatial skills in girls through training (action video games successfully do this!), making connections to how STEM careers benefit society, providing positive role models, and demonstrating what scientists actually do and how their work impacts social issues.

Sequences for Storylines

We've also bundled standards and designed storylines in order to provide Sequences that teachers can use out of the box. These are a series of quests designed to build knowledge up based on a single anchoring phenomena or problem.


Example: Growth & Genetics

One of our initial bundles puts together MS-LS1-5 (how environmental and genetic factors influence growth of organisms), MS-LS4-5 (how humans can influence the inheritance of traits), and some Engineering standards.

  1. Start with a Driving Question

    The city of Espeth is having a food shortage! What can we do to increase the yield of crops to help feed everyone?

  2. Series of Quests for Content

    Students will then engage in a series of quests that build up knowledge, exploring why some plants can grow bigger and have greater yields, learning about Punnett Squares in order to predict how to get the traits they want out of breeding plants, and evaluate information about genetic trait improvement.

  3. Close up with Engineering

    For this example, bundling with Engineering works effectively with the standards, so we're designing it to close with an Engineering task. Students will evaluate constraints and competing design solutions for solving the food shortage problem.

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