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Game 4 – Find the Saliens

Game 4 implements sonification of directional indicators, a novel concept.
The aim is for the student to locate ‘Saliens’ (resident aliens) through listening only, by analysing and combining the information from sets of two sonifications.

The objective is for the student to listen, analyse, and interpret the sonification correctly to determine the location of the Salien. The student can be deemed successful if they are able to describe the location verbally, even if they may need assistance to physically indicate it in the game grid.

The information to take in from the Mission Briefing and the Instructions may seem complicated, but once the game starts, all will become clear. Encourage students to improve their ‘Hi-Score’ as playing multiple times will scaffold skills and will increasingly build better understanding of the sonification.


Gestures: single finger ‘touch down’/ lift, and finger drag.

Prerequisites: attentive listening skills, an understanding of this game’s sonification method (Mission Briefing), and spatial orientation skills in a grid.

Level 1-3 have three rounds, each giving a student unlimited time and three attempts, to find a Salien. Three fails in all three rounds results in a score of zero points: ‘Game Over’ and restart the game from the beginning. In Level 4 active response time is only 60 seconds. This requires quick analysis, spatial orientation and response time.

Note that you hear the Salien (or not) on lifting the finger, not on touch down.

If in the same round the student taps the same cell in the grid twice, there will not be an audio response the second time.

Supports learning intentions:

  • Comprehension of Sonification of space using combined data sets
  • Understanding of Grids (Mathematics)
  • Mathematical reasoning
  • Spatial awareness on the touch screen
  • Orientation*
  • Directional concepts*

*Adjust the Settings so that the spoken feedback supports your teaching goal.

Learning support

The game uses a game grid of 2 x 2 (Level 1), 3 x 2 (Level 2) and 3 x 3 (Level 3 and 4). Provide a tactile grid to support mapping the grid.
Ballyland Sound Memory and Ballyland Code apps 1-3 can be used to introduce digital grids.

In the Settings you can adjust the spoken feedback to support learning of spatial terms (e.g. ‘top right corner’) or grid-terms (rows and columns). You can also opt to display the Salien in the game grid. Note: The purpose of the game is for the student to locate the Salien through listening only.

If the student is confident in the analysis of the sonification, he/she can put down a finger directly in the assumed correct spot in the game grid, then lift it.
Importantly, students who are blind may want to touch down in a tactually strategic location on the screen, such as the closest corner, use finger-drag to the target in the game grid, then lift their finger to check for the Salien. This method helps maintain orientation on the touch screen while mentally mapping the route to the correct cell in the game grid. The edges of the device and the fingers of both hands may be used as anchor points for orientation.

Lesson suggestions

  • What would the Saliens look like, and how do they react? Note that in Game 2 the student can discover more clues about life on Sonoplanet.
  • In how many spots can the Salien be hiding (depending on size of the game grid)?
  • Ask the student to ‘name’ the cell of the grid before they lift off their finger. If the Salien is there, the game will provide spoken feedback.