The 5-day long GameDesk-Agora STEM Summer 2014 Camp is designed to encourage STEM learning in students through game design, making it fun through interest-based play and creative computing.
The camp combines hands-on labs, engineering challenges, and digital investigations to immerse students in the challenges of STEM as they play, create their own games, interact with technology and learn at the same time. Other than STEM, students will also be taught entrepreneurship skills as they create their own 'tech companies'. Students will be provided with design journals to help them record and reflect on their daily activities to facilitate learning. The Scratch software platform will be predominantly used throughout the camp session. We've also adapted specific lesson plans from the wonderful Scratch Curriculum Guide into our own curriculum.
Although this camp was first conducted at a summer camp in Spain, we envision that it can be adapted into after-school programs and part of the curriculum of an introductory programming class for young students. We've provided the main resources below, including:
- Full outline of the five-day summer camp, including overviews, brief steps, and learning objectives.
- Student journal, handed out on the first day, and to be used throughout the summer camp.
summer camp Breakdown
DAY 1: INTRODUCTION, GAME DECONSTRUCTION AND GAME DESIGN
Camp facilitators will introduce students to the purpose of the camp and get them to introduce themselves before the Scratch video is played. Following introductions, students will play and deconstruct the game "Red Light, Green Light" into its essential components and through that, identify the important elements that makes a game. They will then team up and use what they learned to design own physical games through the iterative Game Design Cycle and its stages (Think, Design, PlayTest, Revise). The games they design will be played by other teams and will be given feedback. To conclude, students will begin learning and experimenting with the Scratch platform.
- Day 1 coincides with Pages 2-12 in the Student Journal.
DAY 2: INTRODUCTION TO SCRATCH AND GAME IDEAS
To start off the 2nd day, students will spend 35 minutes to work on an assigned project through Scratch to get them familiarized with the platform.
They will then be given a series of bugged projects with which they will develop testing and debugging strategies for. The students’ next task will be identifying positive elements in existing games on Scratch and use them to create additions to the games through remixing.
Using lessons learned from this task, they will participate in first stage of Game Design Cycle by brainstorming and developing an idea for a game. They will then be asked to share their game ideas with each other and provide feedback.
- Day 2 coincides with pages 13-18 in the Student Journal.
DAY 3: CREATING AND REFINING PROTOTYPE
Using what they have learned over the past 2 days, students will be asked to create a working prototype of a game on Scratch through the Game Design Cycle. They will then enact debugging strategies learned from previous lesson and through crowdsourcing. Prototype evaluations will then be held in which students will provide each other feedback. With self-reflection and the feedback they have received, students will construct an improved prototype of Scratch game and repeat debugging and evaluations processes.
- Day 3 coincides with pages 19-24 in the Student Journal.
DAY 4: INCORPORATING MAKEY MAKEY AS A CONTROLLER FOR GAME
Students will start the day by using feedback from day prior to again improve prototype before debugging it and then evaluating other students’ games. Following this iteration, students will watch an introductory video to MaKey MaKey video. They will then sketch controller designs and construct one. After making a controller, they will examine and solve technical issues and construction problems through crowdsourcing. Other students will then playtest the game and its controller, and give feedback.
DAY 5: PROCESS ARTICULATION AND ARCADE DESIGN
On the last day, students will reflect on and articulate process of game design over an interview with the camp facilitators. After the interview, they will write and submit instructions to their games either in paper form or within notes section on Scratch website. Following that, they will finalize and publish their games. Their last task for the camp will be to set up the computer lab for the arcade session after where parents and other students will play the finalized games.