Classroom Antics believes technology education should inspire, excite, and enrich the lives of children, and we are very excited when such a large number of respected organizations band together to give children an opportunity to show off their skills in events such as the National STEM Video Game Challenge.
Inspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, the National STEM Video Game Challenge is a competition intended to motivate interest in STEM learning by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games.
Submissions of original video game concepts and designs will be accepted in four categories:
- Middle School – students in grades 5-8 are asked to design their own original video game.
- High School – students in grades 9-12 are asked to design their own original video game.
- Collegiate – graduate and undergraduate students are asked to design video games for children (pre-K – 8th grade) that teach key STEM concepts and foster an interest in STEM subject areas.
- Educator – licensed professional educators at the pre- K-12 level, and individuals who are currently teaching or engaging children through a youth serving, non-profit organization are asked to design video games for children (pre-K – 12th grade) that teach key STEM concepts and foster an interest in STEM subject areas.
The PBS KIDS stream and the Sesame Street stream sub-categories are also being introduced this year. The PBS KIDS stream invites entrants from each of the four categories to design math-based video games for children in pre-K through grade four that are inspired by the Ready To Learn Initiative’s math curriculum framework. The Sesame Street stream, open only to the Collegiate and Educator categories, calls for entrants to design a STEM-based learning video game for pre-K through first grade inspired by Sesame Street‘s curriculum and footage.
Entries can be created using any game-making platform including, but not limited to, written concepts, Gamestar Mechanic, Microsoft’s Kodu Game Lab, GameMaker and Scratch. If you are interested in entering the contest, but are unfamiliar with these programs, you can contact Classroom Antics and we can offer you insight into the three programs that we teach in our camps: GameMaker, Scratch, and Stagecast Creator.
The Middle School and High School Category winners will each receive AMD-based laptops, game design software packages and other tools to support their skill development. Each winner’s youth sponsoring organization will receive cash prizes and educational software (there will be a total of $80,000 in prizes for youth and youth sponsoring organizations). A prize pool of $30,000 will be awarded to the Collegiate Category winners and a prize pool of $40,000 to winners in the Educator Category.
The National STEM Video Game Challenge will accept entries from November 15, 2011 through March 12, 2012. Complete guidelines and details on how to enter are available at www.stemchallenge.org.
The inaugural Challenge had over 500 entries from students, teachers, collegiate developers and professional digital game makers. To hear how some of the students involved in last years challenge learned from the challenge click on the video below.