Tuesday, January 31, 2012

West Middle Students Create Video Games for National STEM Challenge

West Middle School studentsWest Middle School Students Create Video Games for National
STEM Challenge

Article by: Alison Benson

Forty-two students at West Middle School are taking their love of video games to a new level. The students are competing in the national STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Challenge to create the ultimate video game from scratch.  The STEM Challenge is an activity to encourage the use of science, technology, engineering, and math in schools by tapping into their natural love of video games. The winner of the challenge will have his or her game commercially published.

According to the STEM Challenge website, game-based learning is one of the most innovative ways in making STEM topics more engaging for students, which they need for the global workforce. "The success of complex video games demonstrates that games can teach higher-order thinking skills such as strategic thinking, interpretative analysis, problem solving, plan formulation and execution, and adaptation to rapid change. These are the skills U.S. employers increasingly seek in workers and new workforce entrants. These are the skills more Americans must have to compete with lower cost knowledge workers in other nations."   

West Middle School teacher Gwen Brewster said in addition to the STEM skills, the students are learning the value of teamwork. "The students agreed as a group that the national winner will come from West Middle School. They want to win, but more importantly, they want to support one another." The students have been meeting three times a week since December to create their entries. The final projects are due on March 12.