video games in the classroom

Free Game-Making Resources (continued)

teacher and studentsGameMaker
www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker
Create arcade-style action games and puzzles with this drag-and-drop game-making software. Includes built-in tutorials to help students get started and step-by-step tutorials for mazes, multi-player games, and more (http://sandbox.yoyogames.com/make/tutorials). Download the free “Lite” version for Windows or Mac.

  • Health: Create a balanced diet obstacle course in which players win points for smart food choices and try to avoid high-calorie temptations.
  • Math: Review number patterns (odd, even, primes, etc.) with a number-sliding game. See the game Square 16 (http://sandbox.yoyogames.com/games/101708-square16) for ideas.

Gamestar Mechanic
http://gamestarmechanic.com
Students learn the basics of game design by playing an online adventure game called Quest, then use simple drag-and-drop tools to create games of their own in an online workshop. The website also provides extensive resources for teachers, including an orientation game and lesson plans for integrating game-making into core curriculum subjects.

  • Science: Explore the structure of the Earth with a multi-level action game that takes players to the planet’s core.
  • Language Arts: Follow Jason and the Argonauts or King Arthur and his knights on a multi-level adventure filled with monsters and magic.

Kodu
http://fuse.microsoft.com/page/kodu
This drag-and-drop game-making software allows students to create virtual adventures set in three-dimensional worlds. Includes a teaching kit with lesson plans and activities, and a series of introductory videos to help you get started.

Scratch
http://scratched.media.mit.edu
Named for the mix-and-match technique of hip-hop DJs, this game-making software allows students to drag-and-drop action modules to create animations, interactive storybooks, and games. Visit the ScratchEd website (http://scratched.media.mit.edu) for help getting started and activity ideas.

  • Language Arts: Add a new dimension to student autobiographies by having them create interactive storybooks that mix family photos with animated characters.
  • Science: Use Scratch animation for student reports on natural processes like the water cycle and the Earth’s movement around the Sun.

Sploder
www.sploder.com
Students can customize four arcade-style games at this website, using an online drag-and-drop game-making platform. The games come with a pre-set cast of characters and storyline, making this resource less adaptable for educators. For a how-to video, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs5RFWJh_a8.

  • Technology Education: Experiment with the many options built into each game-making platform to help students connect the logic behind game design with the game-playing experience.

National STEM Video Game Challenge
www.stemchallenge.org
Launched in 2010, this multi-year competition promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education by challenging middle school and high school students to create their own original video games on any topic. The competition also invites college students and teachers to create original video games designed to teach STEM skills. Visit the competition website to see the many kinds of games students can develop using game-making resources like those described above, and for more information on the educational benefits of bringing video games into the classroom.

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