Articles Tagged with: Hakeem Oluseyi
The Total Eclipse is a Start

Millions of people will look skyward today to witness the solar eclipse. The orbit of Earth and our moon have never been on so many minds at the same time.  During this event, we are experiencing something together on Earth as a united humanity.

 

ExoTrex and the eclipse

Exotrex2 – Dig-It! Games

Space has fascinated people from the dawn of time. People from the past spent nights gazing at the heavens and creating meaning from the milky way. For travelers, stars were used as guideposts.  Ancient civilizations used them to predict seasons, align temples and marvel at the periodic events like the eclipse we will soon witness today.  Not only do we witness this collectively today, we also connect to our ancestors who were sometimes deathly frightened by events like solar eclipses.

 

Our understanding of what is happening today comes on the shoulders of ancient and current astronomers. Over the course of lifetimes, they studied and observed space.  No longer are we fearful of what we are about to observe.  In fact, we are welcoming this once considered sign of doom-and-gloom.  We here at Dig-It! Games are also excited to be witnessing this rare event and one of our colleagues has been walking around with eclipse glasses in his pocket for weeks in great anticipation!

 

Space and the eclipse

Exotrex2 Dig-It! Games

We have many people to thank for our current understanding of space and we have been fortunate at Dig-It! Games to have teamed up with an amazing astrophysicist in the making of our game Exotrex.  Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi is an accomplished astrophysicist, cosmologist, inventor and currently an educator working with NASA who became the voice of our main character Dr. Gerald Burke.  It was great to work with him on the first episode of Exotrex and also to introduce him to students at Roosevelt High School in Washington, D.C. to share his love for science and his life’s journey!

 

Exotrex challenges students to train as astronauts in preparation for an epic journey to find a new planet after life on Earth has become unsustainable.  It is an exciting and challenging program that prepares students for this harrowing mission.

Gameplay from ExoTrex

Exotrex2 Dig-It! Games

However, the fun and challenge does not stop there!  It is with great pleasure that we announce that Exotrex2 is now available for you to play!  Continue the quest to find a new planet for humanity by traveling to Mars, Titan, Mercury and Venus and explore the physical and chemical composition of each destination.  Collect your evidence and report your findings back to Dr. Burke.  Carefully land probes on distant planets, navigate land rovers to collect planetary samples and analyze their chemical composition all while exploring the entire solar system!  It will get you up in the stars much like our ancestors would have liked to do and much like many of us would like to do on a day like today!

After you watch the eclipse, get inspired and journey through space by playing Exotrex2 Today!


Explore ExoPlanets With Dr. Oluseyi

Dr. Hakeem talks to students at Roosevelt High School“If you can see it, you can believe you can do it, then you will do it.” This was just one of the many pieces of advice from Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi to students at Roosevelt High School (part of DCPS) in Washington, D.C.. Many of the students had played our game, Exotrex, in class and were excited to find out that Dr. Hakeem is the voice of Dr. Burke from our game! Many of the DC Public Schools (DCPS) do a great job of promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers and Roosevelt HS is no different. We were so thrilled that both Dr. Hakeem and our DIG-IT! Games senior artist, Mikel Wellington, were able to speak to these eager students as part of Black History Month.

Dr. Hakeem talks to students at Roosevelt High School


Dr. Hakeem’s resume is long and impressive. He holds a Master’s Degree and PHD in Physics from Stanford. He is an astrophysicist, cosmologist, inventor, educator, actor, and humanitarian. Currently he hosts
Outrageous Acts of Science on the Science Channel and is an Space Science Education Manager for NASA. By his list of accomplishments, it may seem that he has little in common with students from an urban school district, but nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Planetary Science Can Change Your Life


During two assemblies in the high school’s auditorium, Dr. Hakeem spoke about his tough upbringing moving around a lot with his single mother. He spoke to the DCPS students about dropping out of college because math was too hard and he didn’t think he could do it. When he finally decided to go back, he worked through every single calculus problem in the textbook to learn it. He emphasized setting goals and being persistent even thought other people may not believe in you. He discussed the stigmas involved in race and physical appearance and urged the students to look past what is expected of them to what they are truly passionate about. 

WormHoles, Time Travel, and Black Holes Can Lead to Career Goals

The teachers then chose a few students to have lunch with Dr. Hakeem and Mikel. One student walked in with a list of questions for the astrophysicist that included discussing wormholes, time travel, and black holes all of which Dr. Hakeem responded to enthusiastically. It was very inspiring to watch the students interact personally with both Dr. Hakeem and Mikel.

This is what Mikel had to say about the experience:

“What an experience to see the future of your craft reflected at you. That was the immediate personal reaction that I had attending Roosevelt HS this past Friday to speak to many of the young scholars there. One of the key aspects that we tried to focus on was the importance of setting goals and the follow through no matter what their passions are. It’s not only important to have a dream and to believe that it is obtainable with undeniable sincerity and drive, but to also move in that direction with the mentality that failure is impossible. One of the most important aspects of any type of artistic production is not just theory, but the actual act of doing that task. I spoke with a young man who had a passion for movies and wanted to get into film. The level of excitement that he had in his eyes and how he spoke to the things he wanted seemed to unlock with encouragement. For that young film maker, encouraging him to make films now with his camera on his phone, and free editing software in his free time was an avenue I don’t believe he had yet considered. This was enough to spark a level of focus and purpose that he hadn’t yet unlocked, and to me that was everything.

One of the things I realized when speaking to this wonderful group of kids was that they weren’t aware that even at this stage in their lives, they have the power to create right now. I’m very thankful for my time there and having the opportunity to share my life experiences with these young scholars. I can’t wait to see what they contribute to the world not only in our future tomorrow, but also today.”

Students at Roosevelt after hearing from Dr. Hakeem

Related Reading


ExoTrex Space Adventure Game

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship ….B.E.A.K.E.R…. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Many will remember this phrase from the introductory sequence of the Star Trek series but in this case our starship is not the Enterprise, but B.E.A.K.E.R, the ship introduced in our newest space adventure STEM game, ExoTrex™. ExoTrex™ takes place in the not-so distant future, where humanity has used up all Earth’s resources and must find a new place to live. Using an innovative new fuel cell called B.E.A.K.E.R (Basic Element Analysis Kinetic Energy Reactor), players must use their chemistry and critical thinking skills to explore deep space and investigate exoplanets to find a new home for the human race.

For many middle and high school students, chemistry, physics and planetary science studies might seem just as challenging as the Enterprise’s mission in Star Trek, but ExoTrex™ can help. ExoTrex™ was designed for students from 8th to 10th grades and uses fun puzzles and problem solving exercises to build critical thinking skills that promote college and career readiness across STEM content areas including: science, math, and science literacy. In an effort to reach underserved students, DIG-IT! Games® ensured the ExoTrex™ narrative and characters would also appeal to minority students who are severely underrepresented in STEM education and careers.

In the newly released Episode 1 of ExoTrex™, players prove their readiness for the mission by completing a series of training exercises that test their chemistry understanding, knowledge of space history and critical thinking skills. Players who make it through this rigorous mission training will take the B.E.A.K.E.R. ship on a variety of exploratory missions in space in future episodes.

 

Students who play ExoTrex™ will meet Dr. Gerald Burke, an African American character who is based on the grandfather of DIG-IT! Games Artist Mikel Wellington. As DIG-IT! Games’ CEO says, “Dr. Burke’s presence in the game elevates the product from a game about science to a game about successfully overcoming barriers and challenges. His story is inspirational and it’s our hope that including him in this game will serve to motivate students of color to enter STEM fields.”

To increase the reach and impact of ExoTrex™, DIG-IT! Games partnered with renowned Astrophysicist, Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi who, in addition to being a star on the popular TV show, Outrageous Acts of Science, is also the Chief Science Officer for both Discovery Communications and the Science Channel.

“The decision to partner with DIG-IT! Games was easy because we are both on a mission to use innovative ways to teach and to reach underserved kids.” Says Dr. Oluseyi, “The diversity in ExoTrex™ is especially important because it’s empowering to students to see and hear someone who looks like them and sounds like them doing science. Today you have to capture kids’ attention in seconds. The visuals in ExoTrex™ do that.”

 

The game’s three episodes will challenge students to not only learn to power the ion propulsion ship, but also to sample the planetary characteristics of known and unknown planets as they analyze, evaluate and make recommendations for an alternative to Earth. Students will love this immersive STEM experience while they have a hand in helping humanity in the not-too-distant future!

Learn more about the game and how to purchase it here. This game is part of our “Get One, Give One” campaign (#GOGOLEARN) where we give away one game for each game purchased. Learn more about our GoGoLearn campaign and our partnership with NSLA to fight summer learning loss through gaming here.

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