Innovative video game developer Valve has made the curious announcement that it will be making headway into the education sector, in the hope of teaching children about maths and physics.

The firm has invited educators to sign up for its Steam for Schools beta program, which will use Portal 2's puzzle mechanics to explain basic laws of physics and spatial reasoning.

A special edition version of the game distribution platform Steam will be offered to schools at no charge. The software will be restricted so that only Portal 2 and the level editor that comes bundled with it are available.

Valve has already come up with some lesson plans. For example, one maths lesson is entitled Introduction to Parabolas with the Puzzle Maker, which aims to get students considering the difference between linear and quadratic functions.

Physics lessons include Building a Simple Harmonic Oscillator, Terminal Velocity and Conversation of Momentum. Lessons are targeted at different age levels, and there are plans to create lessons plans in chemistry, game design and language arts too.

Valve explains the premise of Portal in educational terms, saying: "The interaction tends to be free-form and experimental and as students encounter new tools and challenges they may develop an intuitive understanding of physical principles such as mass and weight, acceleration, momentum, gravity, and energy.

"The games also put a premium on critical thinking, spatial reasoning, problem solving, iteration and collaboration skills, and encourage overall inquiry into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) learning."

In order to obtain a Steam for Schools subscription, education institutions should provide Valve with information on the teacher, organisation, the subject being taught, number of computers being used and the number of students who will learn through Portal.

Once the subscription is approved, the requested number of Steam accounts will be supplied with anonymous account names and passwords.ADNFCR-1220-ID-801390521-ADNFCR
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