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Texas school children to learn about nutrition via video games

Collaborative effort involves The Cooper Institute, Controlled Chaos and The Guildhall at SMU

Watch a trailer of the game

July 5, 2011

Dallas (SMU) – Texas elementary school children will be learning how to improve the nutrition in their lives this fall by playing a video game thanks to collaboration between The Cooper Institute, SMU-alumni-founded video game studio Controlled Chaos and The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University.

The Cooper Institute recently launched NutriGram®, an interactive nutrition education program, funded by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) that employs video gameplay as its primary teaching tool.  The Quest to Lava Mountain, produced by Controlled Chaos and The Guildhall at SMU, is the first 3D video game of its kind designed in conjunction with a nation-wide effort to tackle youth obesity.

Fourteen public schools across Texas participated in the pilot program and, the video game appears to be a huge success.

“The more I see the game in action and interview teachers, parents, and students, the more I am impressed with the metacognition embedded into the game. It has math, science, reading, and social studies all integrated and all using higher level thinking to understand critical information,” said Don Disney, Director of health and wellness for the El Paso Independent School District.  “Children and parents are really paying attention and the game appeals to children across the board, including our special education students as well as our gifted and talented students.” 

“It’s great to have a medium that meets kids where they are and provides the motivation to learn how to make better choices in their lives,” said Hunter Woodley, founder of Controlled Chaos and SMU graduate.  “We’re excited to have created a game that has been so well-received.”

Cooper Institute hopes to expand the program nationally in 2012.

About The Cooper Institute

Established in 1970 by Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., The Cooper Institute is a nonprofit dedicated worldwide to preventive medicine research and education. Dr. Cooper is widely considered the “Father of Aerobics” and is credited with sparking today’s fitness movement. Now Cooper Institute is redefining health as a leader in reversing childhood obesity. The Cooper Institute’s FITNESSGRAM® is mandated for use in all Texas Public Schools and is used in 86,000 schools across the country.  Visit to learn more.

About The Guildhall at SMU

The Guildhall at SMU is the premier graduate video game education program in the US. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are run by industry veterans. Since 2005, the program has graduated nearly 400 students and alumni are working at more than 140 video game studios around the world. Our program offers a Master’s degree in Interactive Technology and a graduate Professional Certificate

About Controlled Chaos

Controlled Chaos takes the best aspects of the video game industry and uses them to make the best and most profitable games possible. Gaming offers incredible opportunities to broaden the horizons of dozens of industries through currently existing technology that is both time and cost efficient. 

Media contact

Ron Jenkins
Tele. 469-855-1574

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