Lawrence Hall of Science, 50 years: 1968-2018; University of California, Berkeley

A Fast Paced Arcade Game About Healthy Ingredients and Meals.

Darrell Porcello

Matt Lewandowski

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Coming soon to Google Play!

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November 2015—Berkeley CA.

How do kids learn about healthy food combinations that are both delicious and nutritious? This is the question that drove the development of the new, free “Space Chef” app, now available on iOS and coming soon for Android. By helping a robot chef assemble meals in space, the interactive app raises awareness of healthy eating by showcasing fun and easy recipes. The app also illustrates the universe of possibilities available to families when looking for new ways to improve their eating habits. The app was developed by UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science and funded by a National Institutes of Health SEPA Award.

Space Chef is a fast-paced action game designed to provide a starting point for building healthy meals using simple, readily available, and nutritious ingredients. Space Chef requires quick thinking and even quicker fingers as you race against the clock to sort through an array of ingredients and construct healthy recipes. Along the way, you’ll unlock food factoids, discover new Space Chef robots, and have access to over 60 healthy recipes. Space Chef helps reinforce healthy food choices and combinations to build awareness for eaters of all ages. All recipes used in the app were modeled from the healthy recipe collection at the “What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl” website.

“Our goal was to build a super-casual experience where the learning was sewn into the gameplay mechanic. Space Chef was the result - a wild sci-fi romp for all ages where you frantically swipe and sort in a mad dash to build healthy recipes,” says app developer Matt Lewandowski of the Lawrence Hall of Science Center for Technology Innovation. Learning how to identify ingredients and to combine them into healthy meals is a great way to encourage good eating choices. Darrell Porcello, Director, Center for Technology Innovation added, “Space Chef is the perfect marriage between practical health content and arcade action within an app. It really demonstrates how far our group has come in developing engaging and informative apps for youth over the last several years.”

Hall developers created Space Chef after meeting with nutrition experts and learning more about the limited access to healthy food choices in many communities. Space Chef is the fourth app in a series funded by the National Institutes of Health SEPA Award. Monster Heart Medic, I Got This: An Interactive Story, and DIY Human Body, all created by the Lawrence Hall of Science, help kids and families learn more about how their bodies work and staying healthy. Space Chef and all the other apps from the Hall are completely free and contain no ads or in-app purchases.

About the Lawrence Hall of Science
The Lawrence Hall of Science, the University of California, Berkeley’s public science center, has been providing parents, kids, and educators with opportunities to engage with science since 1968. The Hall investigates, creates, and evaluates educational material and methods, professional development programs, and hands-on learning experiences for their public science center, schools, communities, and homes. They develop programs that engage across the learning continuum—from simple curiosity to deep understanding. Their programs are highly regarded in any learning environment—from informal to afterschool to formal K-12 classrooms. In the mobile environment, the Hall has produced a series of DIY science learning apps which have been featured in Wired Magazine, Gizmodo UK, FamilyFun Magazine, Apple retail stores, and and have won a Parents’ Choice Silver Medal. The Hall created the DIY app series to help students and families have fun learning science at home, at school, or in out-of-school settings with engaging hands-on activities, interactives, and educational videos. The app series available for iOS includes DIY Nano, DIY Nano HD, DIY Sun Science, DIY Human Body, and DIY Lake Science.

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