PARISH – Several students at Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Elementary School participated in a STEM Project-based enrichment class over the summer that presented them with challenges such as designing and engineering their own video games.
The enrichment was designed to offer students entering grades five through seven a unique and authentic opportunity to explore, understand and solve real-world problems through STEM-focused activities, which encouraged the students to embrace science, technology, engineering and math concepts.
The students collaboratively worked together to solve real-life problems given limited materials and constraints.
In addition to building bridges, boats and an egg-drop experiment, the culminating project of the class was the designing and engineering of a video game using an online software called Gamestar Mechanic.
The students submitted their finalized video games to the National STEM Video Game Challenge. The winners of the 2016 National STEM Video Game Challenge will be announced in October.
According to the Gamestar Mechanic website, the software “is designed to foster critical 21st century skills such as systems thinking, problem solving, creativity, collaboration, digital media literacies and a motivation for STEM learning; all skills that are increasingly important in a highly-networked, digital, rapidly evolving 21st century world.”
APW Teacher Matt Frost, who taught the STEM Summer enrichment course, said he is by no means a “gamer,” but he understands that most students are interested in video games, and he enjoys using Gamestar Mechanic as a means to apply the design process in a highly engaging manner for students.
APW students interested in enrolling in the school’s Summer Enrichment Offerings next year should submit their requests to the main office by May of 2017.