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Life West Student Invents Train Tracts Game

Why make studying hard when you can make it fun?

Life West Student, Matthew de Lima Thiel, has designed a card/domino-style game called Train Tracts which helps student memorize neurology while having a blast.
From Simple Beginnings

The Train Tracts game was devised in response to an assignment created by Life West anatomy professor, Dr. Monique Andrews.

“I put students in groups and together they create a three-dimensional study tool that’s a representation of something we covered in class,” Dr. Andrews said. “What Matthew’s group created was this card game and it blew me away. This project was worth 10% of their grade. It’s the first time I gave an 11 out of 10 on a project.”

Matthew de Lima Thiel is a gamer and he saw that he could take the dense subject matter of the Train tracts and gamify it.

“School requires so much memorization,” explains de Lima Thiel. “I created the game with the intention to stop looking at a book or computer screen. I wanted people to see the tracts it in their mind’s eyes. And the more we play the game the faster we’ll learn.”

The game has a competitive and noncompetitive version, and can be played with a group or played individually. The game has been so popular with Life West students that the college hosted the first Train Tracts tournament in August, with over 30 students participating.

“It was a really tight final round, with an eight point difference between third and first place. The top winning scores can range from 80 to 110 points, so we had a close final,” de Lima Thiel said. “My main goal with the tournament was to encourage people to learn the material better than they would normally.”

What’s Next?

With over 120 hours of time invested in the Train Tracts game, de Lima Thiel believes there is still room for improvement. He has plans for two more versions.
Dr. Andrews has incorporated the Train Tracts game into her curriculum, because, as she says, “anytime you can take a difficult topic and turn it into something that is fun to learn – it’s a win-win.”

There are plans for another Train Tracts tournament in the 2018 Winter quarter.

Matthew de Lima Thiel is optimistic, “I’m excited to see where this goes. My dream is that senior students will teach the game to younger students and keep the wave of learning going.”

de Lima Thiel aims to have the game available for purchase in January 2018. For more information, join his mailing list at CorticalMedia.com.

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