Welcome to MicroRangers!
MicroRangers is recruiting... and we want you! Team up with scientists to explore Museum exhibits and protect biodiversity.
MicroRangers is a new mobile game at the Museum that shrinks you down to microscopic size and sends you into exhibits to combat threats to biodiversity. Nine MicroCrises await—real-world scenarios involving microorganisms— starting in the 1st floor Hall of Biodiversity. For advanced game players, marshall your resources to take on the 6th Extinction. Armed with the mobile app and a free Communicator Coin, augmented characters - both microbes and scientists - will send you on missions and help you along the way. Have fun while you learn how even the smallest things can make a big difference.
MicroRangers employs a range of technologies to: geolocate you within the Museum, offer augmented animated characters to guide you, and provide mini-games that bring the dioramas to life.
Families and educators can download this PDF for learning resources for MicroRangers including correlations to Next Generation Science Standards, a micropedia, and MicroRanger coins.
The game is for families and children of all ages (but probably best for ages 8 and up). MicroRangers begins with the Cadet level, which take you on a 20-30 minute randomly-selected quest, or MicroCrisis. Each MicroCrisis centers around a different Museum diorama that is under threat. Your job is to resolve the crisis by making connections between the microscopic and macroscopic world inside the diorama.
At the conclusion of the Cadet level, players graduate to full-fledged MicroRanger. At this point, you can end the game, satisfied with a job well done, or choose between two options to continue: Basic Play unlocks the remaining MicroCrises and can be tackled individually, or Advanced Play, which introduces a narrative tying together the MicroCrises into a global narrative with dire implications.
The game is turn-based, not time-based, so you can take as many breaks as you like- - whether to enjoy the exhibits, get some food, or catch that 3D Film screening.
How do we play?
All you need is a smartphone (we recommend 2-6 players per device) and a Communicator Coin.
- Download the free MicroRangers app on your iOS or Android device
- Come to the Museum
- Get a Collector Coin
- Head out on a quest
How do we get a Communicator Coin?
A Communicator Coin is an actual physical medallion (or a printed version) that is required to play MicroRangers. The Communicator Coin triggers the in-world characters that come alive through augmented reality. There are a number of ways to acquire the free coin:
- Members can request a Coin at the Membership desk in the 2nd Floor Rotunda. General visitors can get the MicroRanger Postcard containing a printed version of the Coin from the MicroRanger cart or from any Museum store (for free). The cart can often be found in and around the Hall of Biodiversity on the 1st floor, or in the Hall of Marine Life beneath the whale.
- Postcards can also be requested from Teaching Carts in surrounding halls, such as the Hall of Ocean Life or the Hall of North American Mammals.
- You can print out a copy of the Collector Coin and bring it with you.
Watch for the roving MicroRangers cart in and around the Hall of Biodiversity. Cart volunteers can answer questions about the gameplay, the science covered, and the specific dioramas you will visit.
The Science of MicroRangers
Learn more about the game’s nine MicroCrises.
Hall of Ocean Life:
- At the Harbor Seal diorama, players will make a new flu vaccine that will help protect humans from the H3N8 flu strain. In the process, they will learn that hemagglutinin and neuraminidase are two proteins located on the surface of a virus, and how scientists use these two types of proteins to identify flu strains.
- At the Coral Reef diorama, players will prevent coral bleaching. In the process they will learn about zooxanthellae, tiny protists that live inside coral and provide the coral with important nutrients and color.
- At the Deep Sea diorama, players will clear pollution to make it possible for bioluminescent photobacteria living in bobtail squid to regain their glow. They will learn how the photobacteria and squid have a symbiotic, mutually beneficial, relationship.
Click here to learn more about the Hall of Ocean Life
Hall of North American Mammals:
- At the Beaver diorama, players will identify and filter Giardia from drinking water. In the process, they will learn that Giardia are parasites found worldwide in food, soil, and water that has been contaminated with feces from an infected animal (including humans).
- At the Raccoon diorama, players will determine that rabies are to blame for a raccoon’s strange behavior and distribute vaccines. They will learn that rabies is a viral disease transmitted by saliva when one animal bites another.
- At the Bison diorama, players will improve the bloated bison’s diet by leading them away from the grass that was building up methanogens in their rumen. In the process, they will learn how methanogens are a type of microorganism called archaea that ferment plants in grazing animals like bison and cows.
Click here to learn more about the Bernard Hall of North American Mammals
Hall of North American Forests:
- At the Forest Floor diorama, players will gather information for an environmental assessment report on the health of the forest floor that will be used to inform public policy and protect forests from fertilizer runoff. They will learn how mycorrhizal fungi help the roots of plants to absorb nutrients while protecting them from harmful pollutants such as nitrogen.
- At the Deciduous Forest diorama, players will identify the type of fungus growing on the chestnut trees and administer a hypovirus to weaken the cankers. In the process, they will learn how a hypovirus can weaken the fungus and give the tree a chance to recover from the blight.
- At the Northern Spruce diorama, players will identify the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. They will learn how increasing the biodiversity in an environment lessens the risk of Lyme disease.
Click here to learn more about the Hall of North American Forests
MicroRangers is generously supported by a grant from the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.