Educational Games from the National Library of Medicine by Alicia Lillich

It is no secret that children love to play games. Games are fun and challenging and if they can incorporate educational concepts all the better! A 2016 report from Project Tomorrow, “From Print to Pixel,” examines trends in digital education. The report indicates an increase in the use of gaming, animations, and other digital content in K-12 education. Some of the findings related to gaming include:

  • The use of gaming by teachers has doubled – from 23% in 2010 to 48% in 2015.
  • 57% of school principals admit that lack of training for teachers is a top barrier to expanding digital learning.
  • Teachers in elementary grades are more likely to use game-based learning.
  • Over 60% of middle school students play games for self-directed learning outside the classroom.

If you are a school media specialist or children’s librarian, you may be looking for health and science games or animations that you can recommend to teachers and students. Well the National Library of Medicine (NLM) does have apps for that (and websites too)! With input from teachers and students, NLM has created several games and interactive sites to teach about chemistry, biology, and environmental health.

Base Chase: In this game, players help DeeNA jump on fast moving platforms to grab bases of DNA to build DNA strands for different animals. Base Chase can be incorporated into biology curriculum and is geared towards high school students. You can download the app for free from iTunes. A video tutorial is included.

Bohr Thru: In the style of the popular Candy Crush game, Bohr Thru players can collect protons, neutrons, and electrons to create the first 18 elements of the periodic table. This is a fun way to increase knowledge of chemical elements and structures. Bohr Thru can be included as part of chemistry curriculum and is geared towards high school students. You can download the app for free from iTunes.

Run4Green: In this Mario-style game, players can collect coins and complete environmentally friendly tasks while learning about important environmental health issues such as, renewable energy, green products, and greenhouse gas reduction. Run4Green is geared towards students in 5-8 grades. You can download the app for free from iTunes.

TOXInvaders: In this fast-paced game, players use a launcher to destroy toxic chemicals falling from the sky. Capturing “good chemicals” earns protective shield points. To move on the next level, players must take a brief quiz about the featured chemicals. TOXInvaders can be implemented into chemistry or environmental health curriculum, and is geared towards middle school students. You can download the app for free from iTunes. A tutorial is included.

ToxMystery: In this interactive learning site, players help Toxie the Cat find chemical hazards hidden throughout the house. Toxie will do a little dance whenever all the hazards are located, and along the way players learn how different substances in the environment affect human and pet health. There are also resource pages for teachers and parents. This site is available in both English and Spanish, and is geared towards ages 7-11 years old. It is freely available online at

Looking to pair these games with other NLM resources?

  • GeneEd: A genetics resource for students and teachers in grades 9-12. Includes lesson plans, animations, virtual and hands-on lab experiments, links to articles, and information on genetics careers.
  • Environmental Health Student Portal: A resource on environmental health for middle school students and teachers. Includes lesson plans, videos, animations, articles, games, and experiments. The information is focused on air pollution, chemicals, climate change, and water pollution.
  • ToxTown: Provides information on toxic chemicals in everyday locations, and how the environment impacts human health. This interactive site focuses on six specific environments: city, farm, town, US Border Regions, port, and US Southwest. Includes a resource page for teachers. Available in English and Spanish. For all ages.



Project Tomorrow. (2016). From Print to Pixel: The Role of Videos, Games, Animations and Simulations within K-12 education. Retrieved from


Alicia Lillich is the Kansas Outreach and Technology Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, MidContinental Region. She is based at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Alicia is always happy to share more information about NLM’s K-12 health and science resources. You can reach her at

School Libraries

District V

NCKLS School Librarian Summer Workshop

District VI
District VI workshop will be in Oberlin, KS on April 8th. If you’d like to attend see the attached registration form to check out the program and details.

You can email me, Linda Glaze, to let me know that you will be attending!!

District I
We have a great workshop planned for Saturday, April 8th!

Don’t miss out on the fun and a great professional learning!  Just $16 (lunch included) for a great day of learning or $11 (lunch included) for presenters!

If you are interested in presenting:
Among the highlights:  Author Angela Cervantes, Table Top Games, Fat Brain Toys, Game Designer David Snodgrass, Brian Oerter from the Johnson County Library Maker Space, JoCo librarians presenting book talks,
WAW, NEKLS presentation, and more from great colleagues sharing their talents! Please share with anyone you think might be interested!  Classroom teachers and paras are welcome!
Passion!  Purpose, and Play! Sign up now!
Lisa Nocita & Tonya Foster
Lisa Nocita, NBCT
Library Media Specialist
Prairie Star Middle School
14201 Mission Road
Leawood, KS 66209
District II

KASL District IV Workshop.png


8:30 – 9:00 Breakfast & Sign-in

9:00 – 9:15 Welcome & Introductions

9:15 – 9:55:  Session 1 (Choose one)

William Allen White Book Award Highlights
Presenter: Beverly Buller
Young Adult Literature Round Table Discussion

10:00-11:30: Session 2:
Makerspace with Anna Catterson

11:30 – 12:30: Lunch & KASL Business Meeting

12:45 – 1:30 (Session 3)

Project Based Learning motivates students at ACMS
Presenters: Ann Headrick, ACMS Instructional Coach & Georgia Sweetwood, ACMS Library Media Specialist.

1:30 – 1:45 Closing & Wrap Up

Winfield High School Library
300 Viking Boulevard
Winfield, KS 67156
Park on the west side of the building, use the A7 Entrance

Your registration enters you into a drawing for a custom  built “Free Little Library” created by the Winfield HIgh School Woodworking class.  Must be present to win.

Contact: Tabitha Hogan
Winfield High School
300 Viking Boulevard Winfield, KS 61756
(620) 705-5288 work
(620) 218-9057 cell

Cost of Workshop: $20 with lunch; $10 without lunch.  Online Registration Here

District IV, February 25, Manhattan

Carol Higley, District IV Director

Melendra Sanders, North Central KS Library System, talks about everything the system offers school librarians.

Michelle Hammond, WAW Executive Director

Duke Harmon presents on Spheros as an introduction to computer programming robotics

Nancy Bolton, Ellsworth

Lucas Loughmiller presents on Breakout EDU

Carmaine Ternes, Michelle Hammond, Melendra Sanders, and Carol Higley work to solve the Breakout EDU puzzle.

Rachel Hodges, District IV Asst. Director and Cair Paravel’s librarian in the Breakout EDU session.

Nancy Robinson and Rachel Hodges, North Lyon County

Tonya Foster teaches Dr. Grover and Marla Wigton how to use Seesaw.

More Seesaw


Photos and Editing by MHouse
The Road to Education

District IV

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