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Spongelab - Genomics Digital Lab

Genomics Digital Lab

Genomics Digital Lab (GDL) is an award winning, integrated on-line learning environment where users experience the world of biology through immersive discovery-based learning. Unlike textbooks, GDL takes an integrated, hands-on approach to help learners understand the big picture of cell biology and its importance in our lives.

Fully accessible online, accessible through a web browser, no downloads or installation necessary!

Genomics Digital Lab (GDL):

  • Captivates and engages students through high quality interactive simulations
  • Promotes critical thinking, creativity and problem solving skills
  • Aligns to curriculum by covering an array of biology topics such as plant environments, light reaction, DNA transcription, glycolysis, and photosynthesis
  • Provides comprehensive lesson plan creation tools and integrated real-time assessment such as progress tracking and downloadable tests

Game Content


For Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

  • Lesson 1: The Plant's Environment


For Grades: 10, 11, 12, C/U

  • Lesson 2: Building Sugar from CO2 and Sunlight
    • Lesson 2.1: Light Reaction
    • Lesson 2.2: Calvin Cycle
  • Lesson 3: Converting Sugar into ATP energy
    • Lesson 3.1: Glycolysis
    • Lesson 3.2: Citric Acid Cycle
    • Lesson 3.3: Electron Transport
  • Lesson 4: Using Energy to Build Proteins
    • Lesson 4.1: Transcription
    • Lesson 4.2: Translation


For Grades: 10, 11, 12, C/U

  • The Real World of Biology
    • Case Study 1: Solving the Energy Crisis: A Plant is an amazing plant!
    • Case Study 2: The Triffid Next Door
    • Case Study 3: Feel the Burn!
    • Case Study 4: Bioschool Musical: The Tale of RuBisCO
    • Case Study 5: The Food We Eat


  • Whole Plant Anatomy
  • Leaf Structure
  • Leaf Tissue Structure
  • Plant Cells
  • Major cell Organelles


  • Chloroplast
  • Mitochondrion
  • Nucleus
  • Cytoplasm

About Game Based Learning


"...Our students have changed radically. Today's students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach." - Marc Prensky, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants

We are highly adaptive social animals who live to "play" and our discoveries are limited only by our own imagination. As we all arrive, develop, and learn in a bright, noisy, interactive world, our brains are wired to explore, question, and solve within that context. Educational tools should be designed around the way our brains learn.

GDL's Game-based learning APPROACH

The Genomics Digital Lab Learning Environment uses game theory to encourage students to learn from their mistakes and build on their successes. Because it tracks student performance through each challenge, progression through the activities helps indicate their level of understanding. GDL's stunning and dynamic graphics allows educators to:

  • Get students hooked on a new topic
  • Facilitate self-directed, discovery-based learning
  • Connect with harder-to-reach students
  • Integrate aspects of the "21st Century" skill set into the classroom, including media literacy, intellectual curiosity, problem identification, formulation, and solution skills, and self-direction skills
  • Effectively use technology in the classroom
  • Act as a visual aid for teacher-directed learning
  • Facilitate cooperative learning as students explore and problem solve together


Summit on Educational Games 2006, published by the Federation of American Scientists

"...The success of complex video games demonstrates games can teach higher order Thinking skills such as strategic thinking, interpretative analysis, problem solving, plan formulation and execution, and adaptation to rapid change. These are the skills U.S. employers increasingly seek in workers and new workforce entrants..."

Does Game-Based Learning Work? Results from Three Recent Studies
Richard Blunt, Ph.D., Advanced Distributed Learning

"...The data analysis found classes using the game had significantly higher means than those classes that did not use the game. There were no significant differences between male or female scores, regardless of game play, while both genders scored significantly higher with game play than without. There were no significant differences between ethnic groups, while all ethnic groups scored significantly higher with game play."

Video Games in Education
Kurt Squire, Comparative Media Studies Department, MIT

"In this paper, I argue that video games are such a popular and influential medium for a combination of many factors. Primarily, however, video games elicit powerful emotional reactions in their players, such as fear, power, aggression, wonder, or joy. Video game designers create these emotions by a balancing a number of game components, such as character traits, game rewards, obstacles, game narrative, competition with other humans, and opportunities for collaboration with other players. Understanding the dynamics behind these design considerations might be useful for instructional technologists who design interactive digital learning environments. Further, video game playing occurs in rich socio-cultural contexts, bringing friends and family together, serving as an outlet for adolescents, and providing the "raw material" for youth culture. Finally, video game research reveals many patterns in how humans interact with technology that become increasingly important to instructional technologists as they become designers of digital environments. Through studying video games, instructional technologists can better understand the impact of technology on individuals and communities, how to support digital environments by situating them in rich social contexts."

For Old Spongelab Biology, History of Biology and Genomics Digital Lab Users

History of Biology and Genomics Digital Lab have been moved to the current Spongelab Biology platform. Both games are free to play, and there are a number of options available to older Spongelab Biology users:

  • Your old login information should allow you to log in to the current Spongelab Biology platform.
  • If you wish to register a new account on the current Spongelab Biology platform, you can do so here.
  • The old Spongelab Biology platform has been discontinued, but administrative reports can still be accessed here.

Register for a current Spongelab platform account


Access the Administrative Functions for Genomics Digital Lab


Rank Username Points
1 spongelabuser179200 40
2 jonathanyuen2005324 35
3 Mr. Dependable 32
4 julimancilla11 28
5 jjpletsch 27
6 sciencerules40 25
7 erynmarie23 22
8 patryk10072003 21
9 mariammasunny 19
10 Schemkes 19
11 spongelabuser292758 19
13 spongelabuser292188 18
14 spongelabuser292198 18
15 SaraTodd 17
16 nahele 16
17 yimra 16
18 cwatt 16
19 eli01 15
20 spongelabuser291612 15
21 coolgrandma101 15
22 Rebekahpaige 15
23 Anelson999999 15
24 TessaA 14
25 ysternberg 14
26 spongelab291627 14
27 Dragonite233 14
28 d52swern 14
29 siahboutbandzzz 14
30 JakeB33 14

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