University of Texas at Dallas Students Take on National STEM Video Game Challenge

February 7, 2011 -

Two different teams from The University of Texas at Dallas have submitted entries into the first annual National STEM Video Game Challenge. The two teams are comprised of Arts and Technology (ATEC) and Computer Science students at the university. The students are developing games that meet the criteria of the National STEM Video Game Challenge: to motivate America's youth to learn more about science, technology, engineering, and math.

Both teams entered into the Collegiate Prize division, which gives out awards of $25,000 to the top undergraduate or graduate game submission geared toward young children (grades pre-K through 4).

The first team is comprised of students Jainan Sankalia, Liz Paradis, Chris Camacho, and Matthew Tackett. They created a game called Mission Earth: The Search for Hamburgers. The game encourages the use of the scientific method by helping an alien named Gumpert explore the planets.

"We entered because it seemed like a fun, unique challenge to tackle, with the potential for national recognition," Sankalia said. "Our game is designed to help young kids learn the steps of the scientific method, a core mentality that applies across STEM fields, and to help kids cultivate a desire to learn more about space."

The second team of students includes Tony Wu, Adam Chandler, Michael Kaiser, and Daniel Ries. They created a game called Space Cadet, which aims to teach kindergartners about basic math concepts such as length and height by launching rockets.

"A chance to design games is always welcome," said Wu. "Using space exploration as a background for our game and in-game learning objectives as the base concepts for learning, we hope to create a fun learning experience that doesn't feel like learning."

Dr. Monica Evans, assistant professor of game design at UT Dallas, said that she was "thrilled that so many of our students, many of whom are working on educational or training game-based research projects, are able to take that experience and create their own educational games."

"I'm very proud of both teams and wish them both the best of luck," she added.

We are proud of them too - along with other students throughout the country trying to create games that promote learning. We wish them all good luck.

Source: University of Texas at Dallas


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