What is Marsbasen?

Marsbasen is a learning game aimed at high schools, which is specifically developed to teach C-level physics curriculum. In the learning game, students take on the role of a team of pioneers, who are sent to Mars to establish a base. Naturally, this involves a series of scientific challenges, which means that the students must acquire new knowledge, and put that knowledge to good use.

The project has two prongs, as it consists of both research and development.

Marsbasen is framed by an interactive and partially digital story. Teaching takes place both digitally, in the classroom and doing experiments in the lab. The students experience the game as a progressive story, which they are able to influence. Meanwhile, the goal is to learn physics at C-level.

In terms of research, the project involves researchers from IND and from Niels Bohr Institute, as well as teachers and students from Greve Gymnasium, Københavns Åbne Gymnasium and Tørring Gymnasium.


There has long been a general tendency among high school students that they experience a lack of motivation for learning physics - even though recent reports indicate that students in Danish high schools can choose and be happy with science lines (see Engineer the Future (in Danish)). Research indicates that some of the explanation may be that students have difficulty discerning the relevance of the subject (see also the SCOPE project). The lack of motivation may severely influence the students’ skills and competencies in relation to the natural sciences.

In Marsbasen, we understand physics competency as the student’s ability and will to take action, alone or with others, that draws upon a physics oriented ability to question, have knowledge, skills, strategies and meta knowledge which enables them to create meaning and autonomy and exercise co-determination in the relevant life contexts. (Modified from Dolin, Krogh og Troelsen 2003). In other words, we are fusing the concepts of Bildung and competencies (see also Dolin 2020).

The purpose with Marsbasen is to motivate those students who are not already keen on the subject of physics, so that they become more competent within the framework of physics C. In the game, the students must use physics skills and knowledge to assess and solve practical challenges and problems in connection with the base on Mars. That way, through their participation in the learning game, abstract physics concepts and laws are made concrete to and by the students.









Project group, Department of Science Education

Name Title Phone E-mail
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Helle Mathiasen Professor, Emerita +4526810152 E-mail
Jesper Bruun Associate Professor +4535320391 E-mail

Funded by

Logo Novo Nordisk Fonden

In December 2018, Marsbasen was granted 5 million DKK by NOVO Nordisk's educational effort for the autumn of 2018.

Grant number: NNF18OC0052291
Period:  The 1st of February 2019 to the 1st of February 2022.

Marsbasen online!


The game is free to use.

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Marsbasen, IBSE and magic circles at DASERA 2021


Research insights and rationales was presented at DASERA's seminar on 19/11.

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Marsbasen at Make-a-difference conference


The narrative concept behind Marsbasen was presented and we asked the participants to try out one of our missions.

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Jesper Bruun keynote speaker at FMSERA conference


On November 12th 2020, associate professor Jesper Bruun presented an opening keynote at the Finish Mathematics and Science Eduation Association’s yearly seminar.

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