In his latest video for Teacher, Year 6 teacher Ben Wynne discusses how he's set students up for this year's Australian STEM Video Game Challenge, an annual challenge that invites students from Years 5-12 to create an original playable video game either individually or as part of a team.
‘So, step one – how do we start making a video game? Well, what we did is we looked at the theme,' Wynne begins. ‘The theme for this year's competition is Emergence, which is a tricky theme for Year 6s to get their heads around. But, we did lots of brainstorming, lots of discussion.'
Students then found peers who had similar outcomes and visions in mind, and that's how teams were made.
The next step, Wynne says, was to play around on one of the game building platforms, Scratch. They'll also schedule some time in to have a look at an alternative platform, so the teams have an option for what platform they'd like to use.
As for how all of this is scheduled in to the school day and into the curriculum, Wynne says students spend times developing games for one hour each week during their Technology and Enterprise time.
‘If you want to get involved in coding and entering your students into the STEM Video Game Challenge, it's a good idea to get your Principal or your line manager on board,' Wynne adds.
After all, there are a number of outcomes students can achieve by participating.
‘…They're going to be working on this huge project that's going to take them a long time, that's going to have them looking at lots of different skills, that's going to have them working in teams and that ultimately they're going to be entering in a nationwide competition so it's a really authentic learning goal for them.'
Stay tuned: We'll check back in with Ben Wynne soon to see how students are tracking with the challenge thus far and to discuss other considerations for the challenge.