Using a Computer Game to Teach Circuit Concepts

Gerd Kortemeyer, Daniel Anderson, Ann Desrochers, Amanda Hackbardt, Kelsie Hoekstra, Alexander Holt, Asif Iftekhar, Tyler Kabaker, Nicole Keller, Zosha Korzecke, Angelos Gogonis, Quincy Manson, George McNeill, Dev Mookerjee, Sean Nguyen, Benjamin Person, Madeline Stafford, Lucas Takamoribraganca, Zeren Yu, Fanjun Zeng and Rabindra Ratan


We describe the development and use of Kirchhoff's Revenge, a freely available computer game designed to teach circuit laws in introductory physics courses at the high-school and undergraduate level. In this case study, we describe design principles, effort involved in developing the game, as well as player experiences and feedback. We also report on concept-test results for time-independent scenarios (batteries, wires, and lightbulbs), where we find that conceptual learning gains from playing the game alone are similar to those from traditional instruction alone, but inferior to a combination of traditional instruction with investigative, physical laboratory experiments.