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Game Design Engages Students in STEM

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You're my guitar hero

Design Camp's mission is to get middle school and high school students excited about learning science and engineering, and interested in pursuing careers in these areas.

Photo courtesy of Design Camp

The University of Massachusetts' Design Camps is aimed at middle and high school students and teaches them to create and program robots, build circuits, and complete other projects. Novice students use an object-oriented design program with a graphical interface to design games, while more advanced students can write their own programs to make more sophisticated games.

"The best reward for students is to have other kids in class going, 'Wow, this game is awesome,' " says Massachusetts professor Michael Penta.

The program is designed to teach students material they can apply right away, says Douglas Prime, director of the university's Future Engineers Center. "We introduce students to the key mathematical ideas that they will need to use to accomplish their game design goals, and we do it just when they are ready to use it," Prime says.

Other after-school game design camps include 10 programs at Boys and Girls Clubs around the United States sponsored by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). "We know from research that playing games provides some [science, technology, engineering, and math] skills, but when [students] get involved with creating games, those skills go up exponentially," says AMD president Allyson Peerman.

From U.S. News & World Report
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