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Students Challenged to Design STEM-themed Games

The 2nd annual National STEM Video Game Challenge--a competition to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth--has officially launched its call to entries. The challenge calls on students to create their own video games for the chance to win a variety of prizes, including laptops and game design software.

Last year's inaugural competition featured more than 600 entries from students, teachers, collegiate developers, and professional digital game makers. This year, the competition has been expanded to include students from middle school through the college level. A new challenge for game-designing educators has also been added.

Middle and high school students can focus on any topic for their games, but are encouraged to create ones around educational science or math. Judges will grade these submissions on gameplay and creative vision.

Winners in these categories will each receive AMD-based laptops, game design software packages, and other tools to support their skill development. There will be a total of $80,000 in prizes for youth and youth sponsoring organizations.

“Making games gives students the opportunity to not only explore their creative side by letting them express themselves through storytelling, but it also helps them in developing real world STEM-based skills," said Caitlin Skopac, manager of design competitions and events for the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, who is helping to run this year's competition. "These skills include systems thinking, problem solving, iterative design, and digital media literacy--to name a few.”

The challenge launched in partnership with the Digital Promise, a new initiative created by the President and Congress, supported through the Department of Education.

"The American gap in critical STEM skills is growing and we believe it’s not only advantageous for private sector companies to devote time and resources to enhancing STEM education; it’s an imperative," said Allyson Peerman, President of the AMD Foundation, a competition sponsor. "The challenge and the resulting video games are a testament to the power of this invaluable tool to help increase students' critical STEM skills."

Winners will be announced in May. Updates are available through the competition website and Twitter page.

About the Author

Stephen Noonoo is an education technology journalist based in Los Angeles. He is on Twitter @stephenoonoo.