Making Learning Games
Here at the Challenge, we believe that the process of designing and making games itself creates a wonderful opportunity for STEM learning. For the Challenge, you can make your game about anything you want: whether or not it is a STEM subject or is designed to be a ‘learning’ or ‘educational’ game. Making a good, fun, entertaining game with no STEM or learning content is just fine.
That being said, we know many young designers, parents and teachers are interested in making games with STEM themes or specific learning goals. Making a good game that also achieves learning goals isn’t easy: making fun games is hard, helping people to learn is hard. and so doing them together is hard squared! It’s also incredibly rewarding: it’s why the partners behind the STEM Challenge make learning games ourselves and study what makes for effective learning in games.
To make a good learning game, you need to understand the basics of game design. We recommend checking out the Students and Mentors sections of the website for tools, information and resources to help you learn game design.
Introduction to Learning Game Design
The team behind Gamestar Mechanic have prepared this introductory webinar covering the basics of game design and how to approach designing learning games.
STEM Content Resources
The Framework for K-12 Science Education
The National Research Council’s 2011 Framework for K-12 Science Education provides unifying guidance for educators to improve all students’ understanding of science, and will serve as the basis for the next generation of science standards, replacing the National Science Education Standards authored back in 1996 (NRC, 1996).
As you design your science-themed game, please consult the 2011 Framework’s three dimensions to ensure that game goals acknowledge any number of items outlined in each:
- Dimension 1. Scientific and engineering practices
- Dimension 2. Crosscutting concepts that have common application across fields
- Dimension 3. Core ideas in four disciplinary areas
Science-themed submissions may take place in any area of science. For examples of content areas, entrants are encouraged to refer to Dimension 3 listed above.
To download a prepublication draft of the full 2011 NRC report (the link above is to a summary), click here.
The Common Core Math Standards
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.
To check out the Common Core Standards in Mathematics click here.
PBS Math Framework
The PBS Math Framework maps out key mathematical building-block skills such as numbers and operations, shape attributes, and data collection and analysis for young people ages 2-8. The framework informs the design of the many early learning math games you can find at at PBS Kids.
To check out the PBS Math Framework click here.