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 in it.

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.


The year prior, we had set out to provide an experience that would allow youth to explore coding and design in a way that was meaningful for them. In 2022, we were extremely excited to bring back this event and host our second annual Video Game Design Competition!

To expand our impact and engage even more students, we opened our competition to grade 9 students. 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.


Our team was inspired by the amazing and thoughtful games that students designed. To see a roundup of the games submitted, click here.


Besides submitting these innovative games, students also submitted feedback about their experience in the competition:

I really found this competition enlightening on global issues, but fun to do, as love to code, and learned quite a lot of things through the program. I would also like to mention how easy the format was, and how understandable everything was! 


loved working on this because it helped me 5 9 improve a lot in my coding, I’m glad got the chance to participate in this amazing activity.


really enjoyed participating in the STEM Minds Video Game Design Competition. I learned so much about coding, the UN’s sustainable goals, and about how to express important topics with coding. I would definitely participate in another STEM Minds competition.


My experience with this course/competition helped me learn a lot about coding and | had a lot of fun. I got to use a lot of my imagination and I really liked that. I would definitely recommend it to a friend. Now | enjoy making games for others to play.
– Grace