Tag Archives: pokémon

Pokemon + Biodiversity = the Phylo Card Game

25 Jul

For someone whose blog name was inspired by a Pokemon catchphrase, I am attracted to all things science & Pokemon. It therefore feels like my duty to talk about the Phylo card game. Even more importantly, there is a little back story here.

When I was still a graduate student, I spent a lot of time doing science outreach. One time, I attended an outreach workshop organized by the UBC Let’s Talk Science Partnership Program. This particularly workshop was led by David Ng, Director and Senior Instructor of the UBC  Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much from that workshop (sorry Dave!). But, one thing he talked about did stick with me. He mentioned a letter by Andrew Balmford and colleagues (you can read the excerpt here), who found that kids in UK could identify Pokemons (which are really just artificial “species”) better than identifying common wild life organisms. So – can we learn from this and come up with something that would help them discover real species and learn their names?

Little did I know back then, that this would soon be a new initiative led by David, and became a real game: Phylo, the trading card game. The game is much like the typical Pokemon trading card game you see kids play. The main difference? All the organisms on the cards are real. This is also an interesting artistic collaboration – there are some amazing art works done for the cards by many artists. Each card comes with the organism’s common name and Latin name, evolutionary tree info, key words, and more. If you browse the cards online, you can also read a bit more about each species.


What a Phylo card looks like. For more info visit: http://phylogame.org/game-play/

The Phylo game is an open access project – you can download the card deck online for free (!!) and print the cards on card stock. There are also special decks put together by the London’s Natural History Museum and the 2012 World Science Festival. If you are in Vancouver, the UBC Beaty Biodiversity Museum now produces  professionally printed starter deck with organisms featured at the museum, for sale at the Museum Gift Shop for $12.99. Proceeds from the sale will go to outreach and education activities at the museum. Online sale is currently not available, but you can sign up online to receive an email when online sale begins. Or, you can just download this starter deck here.

This touches on something else about science communication – how many other mainstream, unconventional ideas haven’t we tapped into for science communication and education? Something to think about…


Sockeye Salmon


The Pokeymans Project [Link]

3 Dec
The Pokeymans Project

The Pokeymans Project

I usually share links on my scoop.it page. However, this one I have to share here because this reminds me how I named my blog.

I read about the Pokeymans Project through Dave Ng’s blog Popperfont (which by the way is awesome, people should check it out). Noelle Stevenson, who knows nothing about Pokémons, will draw them based on the descriptions given to her by readers. Noelle is also the one behind the web comic NiMONA.

Anyways, what do Pokémons have to do with me and this blog?

I was really, really surprised by the number of people I know (particularly graduate students) who can recall the names the 1st Generation Pokémons (okay, cannot blame them, because I also watched a lot of Pokémons animations myself, but I simply cannot remember any of their names). So when I was thinking about a name for my blog, looking for something that people can relate to, something that I can relate to…

Then comes the name “Science, I Choose You,” because I would choose “science” as my Pokémon to face this immensely massive, totally challenging, yet amazingly beautiful world, together. Better yet, even without the Pokémon reference this name still makes total sense (Ha!).

Anyways, just a little piece about where the name of this blog came from.

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