Can you imagine the look on their faces when you tell your students that you’re going to teach them how to design a video game? Could you possibly hit any closer to home for most of these kids? What do they love more than video games? Well, other than their cell phones maybe… And is this something that’s only possible for the most tech-savvy of us in the trenches? No! Not by any stretch of the imagination. Look at this site I found while reading Scholastic Instructor (Summer, 2011, p.16).
Gamestar Mechanic is geared towards the 4th – 9th grades, students begin playing individually, completing quests to learn the principles of video game design. As a reward for earning enough experience, they are awarded a design workshop in which they design their own game. They can then publish these games to share, as well as playing games designed by other kids, and they can review one another’s games. Students will learn art and design, problem-solving, writing/storytelling, as well as working on their STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills.
Older kids will enjoy a similar website called Activate! Again, the students are creatively solving problems (though here they are real-world environmental-related problems). They design games, and can enjoy those created by others. They are also asked to provide feedback. The more they offer, they greater their own rewards.
Both of these programs are meant to take place in 4 lessons, and both involve computers and worksheets to teach the students. For more information, view Scholastic’s article (complete with videos and the research behind these sites). Level UP!