Calling All Game Makers: National STEM Video Game Challenge Extends Deadline

Filed in: Games, STEM

Filed by Christine Cupaiuolo


3.12.12 | The 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge, a competition designed by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and E-Line Media, has extended the application deadline to midnight on Friday, March 23. 

Inspired by President Obama’s Educate to Innovate campaign, the competition invites students and educators to create video games to help motivate children’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math. Games must be original in design, but they do not have to be original for this competition.

There are four entry categories. Open to students from any U.S. School, the middle school (grades five-eight) and high school categories (grades nine-12) aim to motivate and engage students in STEM learning by challenging them to design and create original video games. Entries can be created using any game-making platform including written concepts, Gamestar Mechanic, Microsoft’s Kodu Game Lab, GameMaker and Sacratch.

Winners in these categories 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 (a total of $80,000 in prizes for youth and youth sponsoring organizations).

The collegiate category is open to undergraduate and graduate students, and the educator category is open to 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. Entrants in both categories are encouraged to design games for kids in grades pre-K through 12 that teach key STEM concepts and/or foster an interest in STEM subject areas. A prize pool of $30,000 will be awarded to the collegiate category winners, and a prize pool of $40,000 is available in the educator category. 

There are three prize streams for collegiate and educator categories:

- PBS KIDS Prize: design a math based learning video game for children in grades pre K – 4, taking inspiration from the success of the PBS KIDS Go website and their Ready To Learn Math Framework (Microsite).
- Middle School Prize: design STEM based learning video games designed for grades 5-8.
- Sesame Street Prize: design a STEM web game built in HTML5 and optimized for iOS /Android touchscreen tablets for children in Pre K – 1 grade that reflects the Sesame Street brand. Games must include one of the following three scenarios:
—A park, an elephant, a pulley, a tree
—A restaurant, a cheese wheel, a wedge, a mouse
—A farm, a skateboard, a ramp, a chicken

All of this year’s winners will be invited to attend a Games and Learning Summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Entertainment Software Association and the AMD Foundation in partnership with The Atlantic on May 22, 2012. This year’s winners, and possibly some finalists, will have the opportunity to present their games to a large range of industry, policy, and education professionals. 

Frameworks for K-12 science education and other resources are available on the Stem Video Game Challenge website. Here are some words of encouragement and tips from 2011 winner Geoffrey Wang.

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