When students explore STEM in the classroom, one of the key barriers to engagement is that it can be hard for students to make connections between STEM concepts and their own lives. At STEM Minds, we think that these connections are crucial. When students can understand how a theory or concept applies to their own lives, their communities, or the world around them, it can make a huge difference in not only their understanding of the topic, but also their interest
We know that these connections are not always emphasized in the classroom, where most students are first introduced to STEM. Moreover, while theoretical concepts are often stressed in academic settings, we know that it is very rewarding and meaningful for students to see and experience how STEM can be used to solve real world problems.
We launched the first ever STEM Minds Video Game Design Competition to create an experience that would allow students to explore coding in a way that would contextualize the value of STEM learning.
This competition was open to individuals participants and to classrooms in grades 4-8 across Canada. The challenge was to design a video game using MakeCode Arcade in connection with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Students were given prompts related to gender equality, clean water, and other key social and environmental issues.
As part of the competition, students received access to our full “Video Game Design with MakeCode Arcade” course to support their learning.
We were extremely pleased by the engagement and feedback we received following our first ever Video Game Design Competition. We had over 2076 participants join the competition, and had a very challenging time narrowing down to just our top 5 games. With more than 750 votes cast, we were very pleased to award our grand prize winner an awesome prize pack including free access to STEAM Hub (our online learning platform), a Sphero mini robot, and a free workshop for their class.
Our team was inspired by the amazing and thoughtful games that students designed. To see a roundup of the games submitted, click here!
Beyond the amazing engagement we observed in the competition, we were very pleased to receive feedback from students and teachers about their experience. See what they had to say below!
As a more senior teacher with absolutely NO gaming experience, this competition gave me the lessons that my students and I needed to be able to design video games. The lessons were extremely well–organized in user–friendly language. The choice to watch a video tutorial or read through the text of the lesson ensured that all learner needs were accommodated. After completing the modules with my class, ALL of my students were able to design video games that they were proud to share with their friends and family. Thank you SO much STEM Minds!
I completed the course with my Grade 7 and 8 students. I think the modules progressed at the perfect rate. The choice of text and/or video was perfect. The course introduced enough to get you going but leaves room for creativity and risk- taking.
I have enrolled in many STEM Minds programs, and I have found them all to be very helpful. They always teach me at least one thing I haven’t before. In this course, I am just happy to code for people and entertain them so I tried my best during this L competition!
I loved this competition! The videos were extremely helpful since I barely knew anything about coding. It was easy to follow the instructions! I loved designing the background and the characters and I learned that there are so many things you could do with coding! I’m so happy with my game! Now I know the basics of coding!