Rare Earth Game Blogs

News releases and blogs from the early history of the Rare Earth Game.

Rare Earth Game Segment Airs on Dragons' Den

November 7th, 2011 - Saint John, NB, Canada

 

Rick Gowan and Jim MacDonald have been selected to present their new science learning game, the Rare Earth Chemical Element Card Game on an upcoming episode of Dragons’ Den, airing Wednesday, December 14th at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. in NFLD) on CBC Television.

 

The game emerged from Gowan and MacDonald's experience watching their children play with existing cartoon-character based card games that depended on complex rules and extensive memorization but didn't teach anything of lasting value.

 

"We realized that the periodic table of elements was the perfect template upon which to create an engaging game that kids love," said Gowan. "We've shown that you can create a learning game with unique and engaging cartoon characters that fascinates young minds precisely because gameplay is based in reality."

 

Dragons' Den is the top-rated Canadian entertainment program on television, with more than one and a half million Canadians tuning in each week. "The exposure is worth millions of dollars in promotion and entrepreneurs don't find out if their segment will be included in the Dragons' Den until the production company contacts you," said MacDonald. Today, the inventors received the news from the producers that their segment will be aired December 14th.

 

"We're not allowed to reveal the outcome of the meeting before the airing,"said MacDonald. "But we welcome everyone to watch and find out for themselves."

 

The Rare Earth Game is a card game in which players “bond” together combinations of playing cards into compounds and alloys. Chemical elements are depicted as cartoon characters, (such as cute Oxygen, monstrous Cerium and heroic Meitnerium). Players then raid each other’s “Labs” to capture the highest quantity of “Protons”. A powerful learning tool for science classrooms and a laugh-filled shared experience for families, the game is designed to engage the intellect and inspire the imagination. Includes: 57 Chemical Element Cartoon Cards, 27 duplicates needed for game play, 11 Rare Earth Chemical Element Cards, 12 Energy Cards and Instructions.

 

The team is currently developing a mobile game app and a book based on the characters they developed for the card game. "As a science teacher, I'm glad that this fun and effective learning game will be shared with so many people," said Gowan.

 

The Web site for the game is RareEarthGame.com.

 

Photographs courtesy CBC

 

DRAGONS’ DEN is the top-rated Canadian entertainment program on television, with more than one and a half million Canadians tuning in each week. In addition to its success on air, DRAGONS’ DEN is also a hit online, boasting an active and engaged online community. Full episodes and exclusive behind-the-scenes content can be viewed at cbc.ca/dragonsden. DRAGONS’ DEN is filmed at CBC Headquarters in Toronto, ON and airs Wednesdays at 8pm ET (8:30NT) on CBC Television. Tracie Tighe is Executive Producer and Lisa Gabriele is Senior Producer. Dianne Buckner hosts.

 

Members of the press interested in speaking to any of the Dragons or host Dianne Buckner, please feel free to contact Laurie Weir at Veritas Communications, (416) 482-0723, weir@veritascanada.com.

 

Richard Gowan is a native of New Brunswick, and a graduate of Mount Allison University (B.Sc., B. Ed.), and the University of Victoria (M.Sc). He has taught senior high school courses in Biology, Chemistry and Physics and served as Science Department Head at schools in Southern California and New Hampshire. Over the last seven years, Gowan has taught Chemistry and Biology at Rothesay Netherwood School in New Brunswick where he also serves as Head of Science, Varsity Hockey coach, and Junior Varsity Soccer coach. For more information on Rothesay Netherwood School please visit www.rns.cc.

 

James MacDonald, originally from Ontario, is a graduate of York University (B.F.A.). As a teenager, MacDonald created weekly editorial cartoons for the "Bolton Enterprise." In his twenties, MacDonald worked as a filmmaker and graphic artist which led to 20 years of marketing management experience in the USA and Canada. MacDonald has launched multiple products and spearheaded marketing project management, database marketing and online marketing programs.

 

Rare Earth Game Business Contact: James MacDonald

Email: Jim@RareEarthGame.com

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News Release

 

Rare Earth Game to Tape Episode of CBC’s Dragons’ Den on May 23rd

April 26, 2011 - Saint John, NB, Canada

 

This May 23rd, 2011, Saint John, NB entrepreneurs, Rick Gowan and Jim MacDonald will bring their new science learning game, the Rare Earth Chemical Element Card Game before the investment savvy experts on CBC’s hit show, Dragons’ Den.

 

The pair will fly to Toronto to film their appearance on the popular program at CBC Studios.

 

The co-inventors of the game are thrilled to be chosen out of the thousands of entrepreneurs who audition every year across Canada.  “It’s a chance to accelerate the success of our game,” said Gowan.  “With the Dragons’ help, we can promote the game and make deals that would be much more difficult to achieve with our existing resources and connections.”

 

For months to come, this is all the information that the team will be able to offer about their meeting with the Dragons.  “We won’t be allowed to say what happened during the taping before the air date,” said MacDonald.  “Not only that, we won’t know if our session is to be included in a show until the producers inform us 2 weeks before our pitch is scheduled to air.”

 

Gowan and MacDonald received their first shipment of Rare Earth Games product into inventory this past week and are selling through their Web site and through retailers.

 

“The Dragons really hold your feet to the fire on your sales numbers, so we’re hoping to get as many orders as we can before the taping,” said MacDonald.

 

The new Web site for the game is RareEarthGame.com.

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News Release

 

New Brunswick Science Teacher and Cartoonist Co-invent Chemistry-based Card Game

 

Co-creator Exhibits in “Inventor’s Corner” Booth 178 at Canadian Toy & Hobby Fair

January 30, 2011, Toronto, ON

 

Richard Gowan, Head of the Science Department at Rothesay Netherwood School in New Brunswick, Canada, and James MacDonald, a graphic artist and marketing consultant, have completed the development of a new educational game called “The Rare Earth Chemical Element Matching Game” and tested it successfully in classrooms.

 

The Rare Earth Game is a card game in which players “bond” together combinations of playing cards that depict chemical elements as cartoon characters, such as cute Oxygen, monsterous Cerium and heroic Meitnerium. Players then raid each other’s “Labs” to capture the highest quantity of “Protons”.

 

“A few years ago, Rick and I dreamed up the idea for a game based on the elements of the periodic table but we were too busy with our respective careers,” says MacDonald. “In 2009, I suddenly found myself unemployed, so I used the time to design, cartoon and write the original content for the game, with Rick co-writing the game rules, providing research material and proofing the emerging product.”

 

In December of 2010, the prototype was finally completed. The game has been tested in 5th grade, 7th grade, 9th grade and 10th grade classrooms. All age groups played the game enthusiastically and actively learned from it.

 

“Not all students are auditory learners. The game provides memorable characters for visual learners and hands-on play for kinetic learners,” says Gowan. “I have been particularly gratified to hear boys and girls ask questions about game-play that are simultaneously questions about the science of Chemistry.”

 

The Rare Earth Game is designed first for the education market, where innovations to help struggling science students are much needed. Simultaneously, the game will sell through retail toy stores and online. Each game box comes with 108 chemical element playing cards (2 to 4 players).

 

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Blog: University Science Students create uproar during Christmas

Posted: January 8th, 2012

 

A local pastor tells us that over Christmas his sons and their cousins came home from University.  One son is a third-year physics student, another is in second-year physics and one of the visiting cousins is in second-year sciences.

 

The pastor and his wife were relaxing in the living room enjoying their Christmas tree and listening to music.  They had to turn up the stereo because of the rising level of shouting and laughter coming from the other room. Inevitably the clamour became so loud that they could no longer ignore it and the pastor and his wife strolled into the kitchen to find out what was responsible for inspiring such laughter and joviality amongst these university students.

 

The pastor was very pleased to discover that it was the gift he’d given his son for Christmas – a copy of the Rare Earth Chemical Element Card Game – that was responsible for all the uproar.  The kitchen table was covered in Rare Earth Cards!

 

The pastor couldn’t tell us if they were playing full university-level rules (you can’t make a compound or alloy that wouldn’t exist in reality) but he assured me they were playing the Rare Earth Game and having a fabulous time!

 

We’ve heard of other university science students playing our game, but we’ve never had a direct report of how they enjoyed the game.  It’s wonderful to know that university students can have just as much fun with our game as children.  We’ve designed the game rules to be versatile so that players with different levels of knowledge can be challenged by the game and this report, anecdotal though it is, confirms our best hopes.

 

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Blog: Inspired Teacher in Linwood, ON creates new lesson with Rare Earth Cards

Posted: January 8th, 2012

I recently had a conversation by telephone with Ed Piva, a teacher in Linwood, Ontario. Ed told me that a few weeks ago, in the last week of school before Christmas, he taught the introductory materials science lesson to his grade 8 class. The following day. a student, Johnny, brought in a Rare Earth Game to show him.

 

It turns out that Johnny had purchased the game online after watching the Dragons' Den episode on CBC on December 14th. Having not had the chance to review the rules to the game, Ed saw a teachable moment in the cards and asked Johnny if he could distribute the cards amongst the students and Johnny agreed.

 

Ed then explained to the students that they should take on the character of the chemical element card they received and introduce themselves around the room to their fellow students, describing the properties they found on the card. He then asked them questions like, "who is a metal?" and "who is a non-metal" and hands shot up around the room.

 

Ed then asked them to go around the room looking for elements with which they had familial relationships as indicated on the cards. Some cards have "cousin," "brother" or "sister" elements (indicating that they are usually found together) and some elements are members of "families" (like the Nitrogen or the Calcogen "family").

 

Ed said that the students all had a great time and learned a great deal about the periodic table of elements in a single lesson. Rick and I are thrilled that Ed came up with an entirely new way to teach with the Rare Earth Chemical Element Card Game – a way to learn even before anyone learns how to play by the rules.

 

Our hats are off to Ed Piva for his creativity in the classroom. We're hoping other teachers will send us tales of their classroom experiences and creative use of the cards.

 

Thanks, Ed!

 

 

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Blog: One Week After the Dragons' Den – Reaction from TV Viewers

December 21st, 2011

 

The Dragons review the periodic table poster made from Rare Earth Chemical Element Game Cards after the taping is over.

 

In the week since CBC aired our visit with the dragons, the positive response has been overwhelming.   The Telegraph Journal was kind enough to do a follow up article. People have been emailing, tweeting, Facebook commenting and buying games and we’ve been blown away that so many people feel the same way we do about the Rare Earth Game.

 

Frank in Quebec wrote:

 

“I saw Dragon's Den this week, and IMO, I've never seen anyone miss the boat worse than they did. They completely let their loathing and fear of learning chemistry destroy all of their business sense.

 

Looking at your website, it is clear to me you have a plan, and a terrific looking product. The merchandising and on-line spinoff potential alone could make this little "game" a huge financial success, if you play your cards right.”

 

Christie-Anne in Alberta wrote:

 

“I watched your pitch on the Dragons Den program that aired on Wednesday.  I strongly feel you were treated with great disrespect and injustice.  It was heartbreaking to watch such a fantastic concept be torn down like that.  I am writing to let you know that you conducted yourselves with amazing grace and poise.  I believe in your concept and product.  Also your influence extends past the positive benefits of your product.  With your pitch you also inspired and motivated other inventors.  You demonstrated how to professionally pitch a product, and how not to lose your cool when attacked...”

 

Amy in New Brunswick wrote:

 

“…They didn't seem to get the idea and concept of the game on Dragon's Den and how simple it is to play.  I can't wait for the storybook. …”

 

Marie-France in PEI wrote:

 

“Your game is such an awesome idea and I really hope it will continue to grow in popularity and sales.  I usually agree with the Dragons, but I really think they got it wrong in this case.  I look forward to seeing you in the future in the segment where they show the people who did really well, despite the Dragons rejection of their idea.   :-)  Good Luck and keep at it.  I look forward to seeing your game and playing it with my daughter.”

 

A student in New Brunswick wrote to suggest:

 

“…send a sample to the TV show The Big Bang Theory.   The impact of having Sheldon playing the game would be enormous.”

 

(Good idea!  We’ll have to figure out where to send a game.)

 

Peter in Ontario wrote:

 

“…I have two kids, 6 and 8, that are already big fans of the periodic table.  I know they'll love the game...  I saw your segment on Dragon's Den and was impressed, both by what you've created and by how you presented it.  But I must say I was surprised and disappointed by the Dragons' reaction.  It's as if they were somehow proud of their anti-intellectual bias.  It's too bad for them.  And hopefully there are enough people that can counter that view and keep feeding our kids' thirst for learning.”

 

Jennifer in Nova Scotia wrote:

 

“We believed the Dragons missed the boat, and it seems a lot of other folks felt that way, too. Best of luck, and we're looking forward to trying out the game.”

 

Stephanie in Ontario wrote:

 

“…  We COMPLETELY disagree with the Dragons and came online to buy the game right away.  We read the few pages of the storybook and loved it as well...we're hoping it will be completed and available for purchase soon.

 

…  I think you are absolutely correct that people's fear of chemistry, math and exams prevents them from being open to combining learning with fun.  As parents, we are THRILLED to encounter geniuses like you who have combined learning in a way that is engaging for children. …

 

Thank you for creating this game and for presenting it on Dragon's Den where we had the opportunity to find out about it…  …There are so many books and games being published and distributed that are not contributing useful learning or skills for our kids!

 

From the bottom of my chemistry loving heart...as a Ontario Chemistry Olympiad Top 10, Founder of my high school chemistry club and former chemistry tutor (through high school and university)...THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!

 

We can't wait to receive the game!  I will be buying more copies after we test it out to send to all my former chemistry club friends...who are now all accomplished scientists and health professionals with children of their own...can't wait!”

 

Schools, stores and families across the country fell in love with the Rare Earth Game last Wednesday night.  It has been a wonderful whirlwind of a week as the emails, comments and orders kept coming in.

 

We want to thank everyone who wrote to us and everyone who purchased a game.  We especially want to thank Science Kit and Boreal Laboratories who took care of all the online orders for games – we couldn’t have handled it without you!

 

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Blog: One Day After the Dragons' Den – Reaction from TV Viewers

December 15th, 2011

In the 24 hours since we landed in the crucible known as the Dragons’ Den, we’ve had a lot of wonderful feedback but the best was from Patti in Ontario who wrote about Chemistry: “Unlike the dragons, I’m not afraid.” Neither were we. That’s how we ended up on the Dragons’ Den this past May with barely a month of sales behind us. Now that the segment has aired, we’re allowed to talk about it – but we’ll let the Rare Earth game’s new fans talk for us:

 

Anne in Hamilton wrote:

“When my son was 8 all the parents at his school wondered why the games couldn’t be made to contain useful, accurate, information.”

 

Geneve in BC wrote:

"I just saw your episode on Dragon's Den. I usually agree with the Dragons, but have to wholeheartedly disagree with them in your case. I am one of those adults that has always been intimidated by chemistry and feel that a game that gives kids the opportunity to learn about it BEFORE they learn to fear it is genius!”

 

Michelle in Ontario wrote:

“... My 12 year old daughter watched the show with me, and loved the idea of the game. When she heard the feedback you received, she looked at me and said that the Dragons had it wrong. She thinks the game sounds very interesting - and would be a great way to learn the 'patriotic table,' lol." Michelle continues that her daughter... "was on her laptop while watching the show, and immediately googled your game. As I type this email, she is perusing your website and trying to figure it all out. She is very interested in the game and in entering your contest to draw a new card!”

 

Nenja in Edmonton commented on Facebook:

"Very upset to see the Dragons response. I thought the game was great. These are the types of games that we as adults should offer our children so Chemistry isn't as scary and difficult as The Dragons thought it was. I would love this game for myself as I was a very photographic, psychomotor learner which could have used some of the analogies you used via the game."

 

Chris in Ontario wrote:

“Don't listen to those bull-headed Dragons. Anyone with a science ambition would love this.”

 

Mike in London, ON wrote:

“... We have an 8 year old and a 5 year old that know the first 40 elements and have alot of fun naming them. They thought your idea was a great one...”

 

Oscar in Washington state wrote:

"I have to disagree with the Dragons- this is a great idea for students trying to remember some of the rules of chemistry."

 

Noura commented on our Facebook Page

"Your game is awesome! The dragons don't know what they're talking about on this one! Great job, awesome idea! If kids can memorize all the info on Pokemon or whatever kinds of useless cards then why not your cool characters and actually learn something at the same time!"

 

Harry, a teacher in Ontario, wrote:

“…build a foundation, and just maybe you'll help tens of thousands of young people understand chemistry... and that, my friend, is significant payment of a different kind!"

 

We’ve heard anecdotes about university and high school students yelling at their television screens, up in arms against the Dragons’ opinion of Chemistry.

 

Best of all our Web site is getting 1000% more visits and our retailers, Boreal Northwest and the Dragons’ Den shop are all selling games.

 

Thursday evening, I called the Geek Chic Boutique in Fredericton, NB on the suggestion of a few girls who are students at the school where Rare Earth Game co-inventor, Rick Gowan, teaches. I began my cold call with Florence Hansen, the owner, and Florence instantly started talking as if we were already doing business. Florence said "the dragons are nuts" and the explained that... 2 hours prior to my cold call she had sent me a fax order for 24 games! LOL!

 

The feedback and attention that the Dragons’ Den has brought our new game has been tremendous and we are very grateful that our segment was chosen to air during the “holiday episode”. It’s a great kickstart for the Rare Earth Game going into 2012 and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.

 

Rick and I want to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who have been so encouraging!

 

Happy Holidays to all!

 

Instructions | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Site Map | Twitter | Facebook | Email

 

Rare Earth™    © Jim MacDonald & Rick Gowan   All rights reserved

DRAGONS’ DEN is the top-rated Canadian entertainment program on television, with more than one and a half million Canadians tuning in each week. In addition to its success on air, DRAGONS’ DEN is also a hit online, boasting an active and engaged online community. Full episodes and exclusive behind-the-scenes content can be viewed at cbc.ca/dragonsden. DRAGONS’ DEN is filmed at CBC Headquarters in Toronto, ON and airs Wednesdays at 8pm ET (8:30NT) on CBC Television. Tracie Tighe is Executive Producer and Lisa Gabriele is Senior Producer. Dianne Buckner hosts.

Instructions | About Us | Terms of Use
Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Site Map | Twitter | Facebook | Email

Rare Earth™    © Jim MacDonald & Rick Gowan   All rights reserved

Instructions | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Site Map | Twitter | Facebook | Email

 

Rare Earth™    © Jim MacDonald & Rick Gowan  
All rights reserved


Rare Earth Game Blogs

News releases and blogs from the early history of the Rare Earth Game.

Rare Earth Game Segment Airs on Dragons' Den

November 7th, 2011 - Saint John, NB, Canada

 

Rick Gowan and Jim MacDonald have been selected to present their new science learning game, the Rare Earth Chemical Element Card Game on an upcoming episode of Dragons’ Den, airing Wednesday, December 14th at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. in NFLD) on CBC Television.

 

The game emerged from Gowan and MacDonald's experience watching their children play with existing cartoon-character based card games that depended on complex rules and extensive memorization but didn't teach anything of lasting value.

 

"We realized that the periodic table of elements was the perfect template upon which to create an engaging game that kids love," said Gowan. "We've shown that you can create a learning game with unique and engaging cartoon characters that fascinates young minds precisely because gameplay is based in reality."

 

Dragons' Den is the top-rated Canadian entertainment program on television, with more than one and a half million Canadians tuning in each week. "The exposure is worth millions of dollars in promotion and entrepreneurs don't find out if their segment will be included in the Dragons' Den until the production company contacts you," said MacDonald. Today, the inventors received the news from the producers that their segment will be aired December 14th.

 

"We're not allowed to reveal the outcome of the meeting before the airing,"said MacDonald. "But we welcome everyone to watch and find out for themselves."

 

The Rare Earth Game is a card game in which players “bond” together combinations of playing cards into compounds and alloys. Chemical elements are depicted as cartoon characters, (such as cute Oxygen, monstrous Cerium and heroic Meitnerium). Players then raid each other’s “Labs” to capture the highest quantity of “Protons”. A powerful learning tool for science classrooms and a laugh-filled shared experience for families, the game is designed to engage the intellect and inspire the imagination. Includes: 57 Chemical Element Cartoon Cards, 27 duplicates needed for game play, 11 Rare Earth Chemical Element Cards, 12 Energy Cards and Instructions.

 

The team is currently developing a mobile game app and a book based on the characters they developed for the card game. "As a science teacher, I'm glad that this fun and effective learning game will be shared with so many people," said Gowan.

 

The Web site for the game is RareEarthGame.com.

 

Photographs courtesy CBC

 

Dragons' Den

 

DRAGONS’ DEN is the top-rated Canadian entertainment program on television, with more than one and a half million Canadians tuning in each week. In addition to its success on air, DRAGONS’ DEN is also a hit online, boasting an active and engaged online community. Full episodes and exclusive behind-the-scenes content can be viewed at cbc.ca/dragonsden. DRAGONS’ DEN is filmed at CBC Headquarters in Toronto, ON and airs Wednesdays at 8pm ET (8:30NT) on CBC Television. Tracie Tighe is Executive Producer and Lisa Gabriele is Senior Producer. Dianne Buckner hosts.

 

Members of the press interested in speaking to any of the Dragons or host Dianne Buckner, please feel free to contact Laurie Weir at Veritas Communications, (416) 482-0723, weir@veritascanada.com.

 

Richard Gowan is a native of New Brunswick, and a graduate of Mount Allison University (B.Sc., B. Ed.), and the University of Victoria (M.Sc). He has taught senior high school courses in Biology, Chemistry and Physics and served as Science Department Head at schools in Southern California and New Hampshire. Over the last seven years, Gowan has taught Chemistry and Biology at Rothesay Netherwood School in New Brunswick where he also serves as Head of Science, Varsity Hockey coach, and Junior Varsity Soccer coach. For more information on Rothesay Netherwood School please visit www.rns.cc.

 

James MacDonald, originally from Ontario, is a graduate of York University (B.F.A.). As a teenager, MacDonald created weekly editorial cartoons for the "Bolton Enterprise." In his twenties, MacDonald worked as a filmmaker and graphic artist which led to 20 years of marketing management experience in the USA and Canada. MacDonald has launched multiple products and spearheaded marketing project management, database marketing and online marketing programs.

 

Rare Earth Game Business Contact: James MacDonald

Email: Jim@RareEarthGame.com

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News Release

 

Rare Earth Game to Tape Episode of CBC’s Dragons’ Den on May 23rd

April 26, 2011 - Saint John, NB, Canada

 

This May 23rd, 2011, Saint John, NB entrepreneurs, Rick Gowan and Jim MacDonald will bring their new science learning game, the Rare Earth Chemical Element Card Game before the investment savvy experts on CBC’s hit show, Dragons’ Den.

 

The pair will fly to Toronto to film their appearance on the popular program at CBC Studios.

 

The co-inventors of the game are thrilled to be chosen out of the thousands of entrepreneurs who audition every year across Canada.  “It’s a chance to accelerate the success of our game,” said Gowan.  “With the Dragons’ help, we can promote the game and make deals that would be much more difficult to achieve with our existing resources and connections.”

 

For months to come, this is all the information that the team will be able to offer about their meeting with the Dragons.  “We won’t be allowed to say what happened during the taping before the air date,” said MacDonald.  “Not only that, we won’t know if our session is to be included in a show until the producers inform us 2 weeks before our pitch is scheduled to air.”

 

Gowan and MacDonald received their first shipment of Rare Earth Games product into inventory this past week and are selling through their Web site and through retailers.

 

“The Dragons really hold your feet to the fire on your sales numbers, so we’re hoping to get as many orders as we can before the taping,” said MacDonald.

 

The new Web site for the game is RareEarthGame.com.

---------

News Release

 

New Brunswick Science Teacher and Cartoonist Co-invent Chemistry-based Card Game

 

Co-creator Exhibits in “Inventor’s Corner” Booth 178 at Canadian Toy & Hobby Fair

January 30, 2011, Toronto, ON

 

Richard Gowan, Head of the Science Department at Rothesay Netherwood School in New Brunswick, Canada, and James MacDonald, a graphic artist and marketing consultant, have completed the development of a new educational game called “The Rare Earth Chemical Element Matching Game” and tested it successfully in classrooms.

 

The Rare Earth Game is a card game in which players “bond” together combinations of playing cards that depict chemical elements as cartoon characters, such as cute Oxygen, monsterous Cerium and heroic Meitnerium. Players then raid each other’s “Labs” to capture the highest quantity of “Protons”.

 

“A few years ago, Rick and I dreamed up the idea for a game based on the elements of the periodic table but we were too busy with our respective careers,” says MacDonald. “In 2009, I suddenly found myself unemployed, so I used the time to design, cartoon and write the original content for the game, with Rick co-writing the game rules, providing research material and proofing the emerging product.”

 

In December of 2010, the prototype was finally completed. The game has been tested in 5th grade, 7th grade, 9th grade and 10th grade classrooms. All age groups played the game enthusiastically and actively learned from it.

 

“Not all students are auditory learners. The game provides memorable characters for visual learners and hands-on play for kinetic learners,” says Gowan. “I have been particularly gratified to hear boys and girls ask questions about game-play that are simultaneously questions about the science of Chemistry.”

 

The Rare Earth Game is designed first for the education market, where innovations to help struggling science students are much needed. Simultaneously, the game will sell through retail toy stores and online. Each game box comes with 108 chemical element playing cards (2 to 4 players).

 

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Blog: University Science Students create uproar during Christmas

Posted: January 8th, 2012

 

A local pastor tells us that over Christmas his sons and their cousins came home from University.  One son is a third-year physics student, another is in second-year physics and one of the visiting cousins is in second-year sciences.

 

The pastor and his wife were relaxing in the living room enjoying their Christmas tree and listening to music.  They had to turn up the stereo because of the rising level of shouting and laughter coming from the other room. Inevitably the clamour became so loud that they could no longer ignore it and the pastor and his wife strolled into the kitchen to find out what was responsible for inspiring such laughter and joviality amongst these university students.

 

The pastor was very pleased to discover that it was the gift he’d given his son for Christmas – a copy of the Rare Earth Chemical Element Card Game – that was responsible for all the uproar.  The kitchen table was covered in Rare Earth Cards!

 

The pastor couldn’t tell us if they were playing full university-level rules (you can’t make a compound or alloy that wouldn’t exist in reality) but he assured me they were playing the Rare Earth Game and having a fabulous time!

 

We’ve heard of other university science students playing our game, but we’ve never had a direct report of how they enjoyed the game.  It’s wonderful to know that university students can have just as much fun with our game as children.  We’ve designed the game rules to be versatile so that players with different levels of knowledge can be challenged by the game and this report, anecdotal though it is, confirms our best hopes.

 

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Blog: Inspired Teacher in Linwood, ON creates new lesson with Rare Earth Cards

Posted: January 8th, 2012

I recently had a conversation by telephone with Ed Piva, a teacher in Linwood, Ontario. Ed told me that a few weeks ago, in the last week of school before Christmas, he taught the introductory materials science lesson to his grade 8 class. The following day. a student, Johnny, brought in a Rare Earth Game to show him.

 

It turns out that Johnny had purchased the game online after watching the Dragons' Den episode on CBC on December 14th. Having not had the chance to review the rules to the game, Ed saw a teachable moment in the cards and asked Johnny if he could distribute the cards amongst the students and Johnny agreed.

 

Ed then explained to the students that they should take on the character of the chemical element card they received and introduce themselves around the room to their fellow students, describing the properties they found on the card. He then asked them questions like, "who is a metal?" and "who is a non-metal" and hands shot up around the room.

 

Ed then asked them to go around the room looking for elements with which they had familial relationships as indicated on the cards. Some cards have "cousin," "brother" or "sister" elements (indicating that they are usually found together) and some elements are members of "families" (like the Nitrogen or the Calcogen "family").

 

Ed said that the students all had a great time and learned a great deal about the periodic table of elements in a single lesson. Rick and I are thrilled that Ed came up with an entirely new way to teach with the Rare Earth Chemical Element Card Game – a way to learn even before anyone learns how to play by the rules.

 

Our hats are off to Ed Piva for his creativity in the classroom. We're hoping other teachers will send us tales of their classroom experiences and creative use of the cards.

 

Thanks, Ed!

 

 

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Blog: One Week After the Dragons' Den – Reaction from TV Viewers

December 21st, 2011

 

The Dragons review the periodic table poster made from Rare Earth Chemical Element Game Cards after the taping is over.

 

In the week since CBC aired our visit with the dragons, the positive response has been overwhelming.   The Telegraph Journal was kind enough to do a follow up article. People have been emailing, tweeting, Facebook commenting and buying games and we’ve been blown away that so many people feel the same way we do about the Rare Earth Game.

 

Frank in Quebec wrote:

 

“I saw Dragon's Den this week, and IMO, I've never seen anyone miss the boat worse than they did. They completely let their loathing and fear of learning chemistry destroy all of their business sense.

 

Looking at your website, it is clear to me you have a plan, and a terrific looking product. The merchandising and on-line spinoff potential alone could make this little "game" a huge financial success, if you play your cards right.”

 

Christie-Anne in Alberta wrote:

 

“I watched your pitch on the Dragons Den program that aired on Wednesday.  I strongly feel you were treated with great disrespect and injustice.  It was heartbreaking to watch such a fantastic concept be torn down like that.  I am writing to let you know that you conducted yourselves with amazing grace and poise.  I believe in your concept and product.  Also your influence extends past the positive benefits of your product.  With your pitch you also inspired and motivated other inventors.  You demonstrated how to professionally pitch a product, and how not to lose your cool when attacked...”

 

Amy in New Brunswick wrote:

 

“…They didn't seem to get the idea and concept of the game on Dragon's Den and how simple it is to play.  I can't wait for the storybook. …”

 

Marie-France in PEI wrote:

 

“Your game is such an awesome idea and I really hope it will continue to grow in popularity and sales.  I usually agree with the Dragons, but I really think they got it wrong in this case.  I look forward to seeing you in the future in the segment where they show the people who did really well, despite the Dragons rejection of their idea.   :-)  Good Luck and keep at it.  I look forward to seeing your game and playing it with my daughter.”

 

A student in New Brunswick wrote to suggest:

 

“…send a sample to the TV show The Big Bang Theory.   The impact of having Sheldon playing the game would be enormous.”

 

(Good idea!  We’ll have to figure out where to send a game.)

 

Peter in Ontario wrote:

 

“…I have two kids, 6 and 8, that are already big fans of the periodic table.  I know they'll love the game...  I saw your segment on Dragon's Den and was impressed, both by what you've created and by how you presented it.  But I must say I was surprised and disappointed by the Dragons' reaction.  It's as if they were somehow proud of their anti-intellectual bias.  It's too bad for them.  And hopefully there are enough people that can counter that view and keep feeding our kids' thirst for learning.”

 

Jennifer in Nova Scotia wrote:

 

“We believed the Dragons missed the boat, and it seems a lot of other folks felt that way, too. Best of luck, and we're looking forward to trying out the game.”

 

Stephanie in Ontario wrote:

 

“…  We COMPLETELY disagree with the Dragons and came online to buy the game right away.  We read the few pages of the storybook and loved it as well...we're hoping it will be completed and available for purchase soon.

 

…  I think you are absolutely correct that people's fear of chemistry, math and exams prevents them from being open to combining learning with fun.  As parents, we are THRILLED to encounter geniuses like you who have combined learning in a way that is engaging for children. …

 

Thank you for creating this game and for presenting it on Dragon's Den where we had the opportunity to find out about it…  …There are so many books and games being published and distributed that are not contributing useful learning or skills for our kids!

 

From the bottom of my chemistry loving heart...as a Ontario Chemistry Olympiad Top 10, Founder of my high school chemistry club and former chemistry tutor (through high school and university)...THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!

 

We can't wait to receive the game!  I will be buying more copies after we test it out to send to all my former chemistry club friends...who are now all accomplished scientists and health professionals with children of their own...can't wait!”

 

Schools, stores and families across the country fell in love with the Rare Earth Game last Wednesday night.  It has been a wonderful whirlwind of a week as the emails, comments and orders kept coming in.

 

We want to thank everyone who wrote to us and everyone who purchased a game.  We especially want to thank Science Kit and Boreal Laboratories who took care of all the online orders for games – we couldn’t have handled it without you!

 

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Blog: One Day After the Dragons' Den – Reaction from TV Viewers

December 15th, 2011

In the 24 hours since we landed in the crucible known as the Dragons’ Den, we’ve had a lot of wonderful feedback but the best was from Patti in Ontario who wrote about Chemistry: “Unlike the dragons, I’m not afraid.” Neither were we. That’s how we ended up on the Dragons’ Den this past May with barely a month of sales behind us. Now that the segment has aired, we’re allowed to talk about it – but we’ll let the Rare Earth game’s new fans talk for us:

 

Anne in Hamilton wrote:

“When my son was 8 all the parents at his school wondered why the games couldn’t be made to contain useful, accurate, information.”

 

Geneve in BC wrote:

"I just saw your episode on Dragon's Den. I usually agree with the Dragons, but have to wholeheartedly disagree with them in your case. I am one of those adults that has always been intimidated by chemistry and feel that a game that gives kids the opportunity to learn about it BEFORE they learn to fear it is genius!”

 

Michelle in Ontario wrote:

“... My 12 year old daughter watched the show with me, and loved the idea of the game. When she heard the feedback you received, she looked at me and said that the Dragons had it wrong. She thinks the game sounds very interesting - and would be a great way to learn the 'patriotic table,' lol." Michelle continues that her daughter... "was on her laptop while watching the show, and immediately googled your game. As I type this email, she is perusing your website and trying to figure it all out. She is very interested in the game and in entering your contest to draw a new card!”

 

Nenja in Edmonton commented on Facebook:

"Very upset to see the Dragons response. I thought the game was great. These are the types of games that we as adults should offer our children so Chemistry isn't as scary and difficult as The Dragons thought it was. I would love this game for myself as I was a very photographic, psychomotor learner which could have used some of the analogies you used via the game."

 

Chris in Ontario wrote:

“Don't listen to those bull-headed Dragons. Anyone with a science ambition would love this.”

 

Mike in London, ON wrote:

“... We have an 8 year old and a 5 year old that know the first 40 elements and have alot of fun naming them. They thought your idea was a great one...”

 

Oscar in Washington state wrote:

"I have to disagree with the Dragons- this is a great idea for students trying to remember some of the rules of chemistry."

 

Noura commented on our Facebook Page

"Your game is awesome! The dragons don't know what they're talking about on this one! Great job, awesome idea! If kids can memorize all the info on Pokemon or whatever kinds of useless cards then why not your cool characters and actually learn something at the same time!"

 

Harry, a teacher in Ontario, wrote:

“…build a foundation, and just maybe you'll help tens of thousands of young people understand chemistry... and that, my friend, is significant payment of a different kind!"

 

We’ve heard anecdotes about university and high school students yelling at their television screens, up in arms against the Dragons’ opinion of Chemistry.

 

Best of all our Web site is getting 1000% more visits and our retailers, Boreal Northwest and the Dragons’ Den shop are all selling games.

 

Thursday evening, I called the Geek Chic Boutique in Fredericton, NB on the suggestion of a few girls who are students at the school where Rare Earth Game co-inventor, Rick Gowan, teaches. I began my cold call with Florence Hansen, the owner, and Florence instantly started talking as if we were already doing business. Florence said "the dragons are nuts" and the explained that... 2 hours prior to my cold call she had sent me a fax order for 24 games! LOL!

 

The feedback and attention that the Dragons’ Den has brought our new game has been tremendous and we are very grateful that our segment was chosen to air during the “holiday episode”. It’s a great kickstart for the Rare Earth Game going into 2012 and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.

 

Rick and I want to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who have been so encouraging!

 

Happy Holidays to all!

 

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