February 26th, 2013

STEM Video Game Challenge Launches That Teach Kids to Make Video Games

This month, kids and their parents attended a workshop at the American Museum of Natural History to make video games that they will enter into the National STEM Video Game Challenge  

The National STEM Video Game Challenge, presented by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media,  is open to middle school and high school students in grades 5 – 12 through April 24, 2013. The Challenge, now in its third year, aims to pique interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among our nation’s youth by tapping into students’ enthusiasm for playing and making video games. Students use free, open-source software to create playable video games or a written video game design document.

Game design resources are available and include video tutorials, links to open-source game-making software that can be downloaded free of charge, and toolkits for parents, teachers, librarians, afterschool program facilitators, and mentors to help kids create their games. 

One middle school and one high school winner will be selected for each game creation platform. All winners will receive an AMD-powered laptop computer including game design and educational software. Each winner’s sponsoring organization will receive a cash prize of $2000. They will also be honored at a culminating event in New York City in June.

With our world becoming increasingly complex, science, technology, engineering, and math are playing a larger and larger role in our daily lives.  The best way to engage children with technology in a meaningful way is through games that are fun to play and teach them important skills like reading, writing, language development, design, systems-based learning, creativity, and collaboration. The National STEM Video Game Challenge hopes to motivate STEM learning by leveraging students’ natural excitement to play and make video games.  More than 3,700 middle and high school youth participated in the 2012 Challenge, a 650% increase over its inaugural year. Twenty-eight youth were selected as winners last year and two winners from the inaugural year of the competition were invited to showcase their games at the White House Science Fair in February 2012.

"I consider winning the STEM challenge to be one of the best achievements of my life. Creating the game opened my eyes to the world of computers, which I had never even considered to be interesting before,” said Julia Weingaertner, Middle School category winner, 2012 National STEM Challenge.

For additional information on the Challenge, please visit  http://stemchallenge.org

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