NEW YORK "A Cheyenne Odyssey," the third interactive
game in the Mission US series of captivating, digital role-playing
games created to engage middle school students in the exploration
of US history. "A Cheyenne Odyssey" supports the study of westward
expansion in the middle grade American history curriculum.
The game engages students as they take on the role of a twelve-year-old
Northern Cheyenne boy in the 1860s. Students can access the game
via streaming and download through any Internet-connected computer
at www.mission-us.org, making
this history resource available to students in school, at home,
in libraries and anywhere they access instructional content.
"'A Cheyenne Odyssey' is the first game to present the Northern
Cheyenne perspective on real events our people experienced," said
Dr. Richard Littlebear, President of Chief Dull Knife College
and advisor to the project. "However, this is much more than a
game about the high and low points of our history. It teaches
students how to make decisions and how to live with the consequences
of those decisions, just as one has to do in real life."
"A Cheyenne Odyssey" players take on the role of Little Fox, a fictional
member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe. As players "live the life"
of Little Fox, they experience sweeping changes and challenges and
must choose how to react and adapt to the encroachment of settlers,
the expansion of the railroads, the decline of the buffalo and the
rise of the reservation system.
Eventually Little Fox, now a grown warrior, will fight in the
Battle of the Greasy Grass, known to non-Indians as the Battle of
the Little Bighorn or Custer's Last Stand. With each change and
each choice, players learn about the persistence of the Cheyenne
through national transformations.
As students play "A Cheyenne Odyssey," they gain insight and
understanding of westward expansion and its impact on America's
native peoples, the economy, the landscape and environment. They
interact with traders, railroad workers, soldiers and settlers who
forged their way west to expand the United States. Accompanying
curriculum activities and rich supplemental resources, including
maps, visuals, artifacts, and more, deepen students' understanding
and perspectives about the historical context of the period. The
game also includes embedded "smartwords" to build vocabulary and
support learners' growing historical literacy.
Content for "A Cheyenne Odyssey" was developed by historians
and educators at the American Social History Project (ASHP)/Center
for Media & Learning, a research center at the Graduate Center,
City University of New York, in close collaboration with representatives
of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe at Chief Dull Knife College , a community-based
and tribally-managed institution located on the Northern Cheyenne
reservation in southeastern Montana. Dr. Littlebear and his colleagues
consulted on educational content, scripting, design, and casting
for the game.
All actors voicing the roles of the Northern Cheyenne characters
are Northern Cheyenne themselves, lending authenticity and accuracy
to the production of "A Cheyenne Odyssey." Jeffrey Ostler, Beekman
Professor of Northwest and Pacific History at the University of
Oregon, and Christina Gish Hill, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
at Iowa State University and author, Dull Knife Had a Family, provided
additional advisory support for the game, which is informed by standards-aligned
curriculum concepts and deeply grounded in scholarship.
Mission US is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC in association
with WNET with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
(CPB) and additional support from the National Endowment for the
Humanities. THIRTEEN worked with Electric Funstuff, an educational
software company that specializes in using game design to create
effective learning experiences, on the design, development, and
production of the game.
Mission US addresses the pressing instructional need to engage
middle grade students in the exploration, discovery, and understanding
of US history. The goal is to encourage students to care about history
by assuming the roles of peers from the past.
Mission US has more than a half-million registered users and
growing, including approximately 483,000 players and 27,000 teachers.
The game series is part of a larger initiative by the Corporation
for Public Broadcasting (CPB), under its American History and Civics
Initiative, to evaluate the potential benefits of digital history
games for student learning.
In 2011, Education Development Center (EDC) completed a major
research study examining the use of Mission US by 1,118 seventh
and eighth grade students in 50 schools across the United States.
In the study, students demonstrated measurable gains in historical
knowledge and skills. Summary findings are available at cpb.org/features/missionus.
Mission US is also a featured project of CPB's American Graduate
program, an initiative to combat the nation's dropout crisis.
Each game in the Mission US series includes a comprehensive
collection of resources and materials for teachers and librarians.
These include document-based questions (DBQs), an array of primary
sources, activities, vocabulary builders, standards alignments,
writing prompts and visual aids, as well as professional development
videos showing teachers using the Mission US games with their students.
The game is compatible with Internet-connected computers and with
most interactive whiteboard programs. Support materials, like all
the games in Mission US, are free.
Mission US is a multimedia project that immerses players in U.S.
history content through free interactive games.