National STEM Video Game Challenge

[ 0 ] September 27, 2010 |

From the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and inspired by the “Educate to Innovate” campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, the National STEM Video Game Challenge aims to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passions for playing and making video games.

The first annual competition is being held by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media in partnership with sponsors AMD Foundation, Entertainment Software Association and Microsoft. Founding outreach partners include the American Association of School Librarians, American Library Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, BrainPOP, and the International Game Developers Association.

The first year of the National STEM Video Game Challenge features two complementary competitions; a Youth Prize and a Developer Prize:

The Developer Prize challenges emerging and experienced game developers to design mobile games, includinFg games for the mobile Web, for young children (grades pre-K through 4) that teach key STEM concepts and foster an interest in STEM subject areas.

The Youth Prize engages middle school students (grades 5 through 8) in STEM learning by challenging them to design original video games. The Youth Prize design challenge will be open to middle school students from any U.S. school with a special emphasis on reaching students in underserved urban and rural communities.

Developers Prize Overview

Developers Will Compete For:

  • A pool of $100K in seed money for the refinement, research, marketing, and distribution of their game
  • Research: The Cooney Center research team will work with the winners to identify potential scalable outcomes of the submission
  • Expertise: Additional advice will be offered from experts who are skilled in video game and mobile R&D
  • Publicity: Recognition in press, online channels, and select publications
  • Networking: Winners will be invited to participate in the next Cooney Center Leadership Forum in March 2011, and have access to the Center’s multi-disciplinary network of experts in digital media and learning

Four Prizes Awarded:

  • A Grand Prize of $50K for best Developer submission
  • A Collegiate Prize of $25K for the best undergraduate or graduate student submission
  • A prize of $25K for the best submission that has the greatest potential to reach underserved populations
  • A People’s Choice award will be selected through an online public vote and will recognize the submission with the most votes


  • U.S. Citizens Age 18 or over
  • Teams may be comprised of up to four applicants
  • Collegiate submissions must have a team comprised solely of matriculating students in an undergraduate or graduate degree program


  • October 12, 2010: Open for submissions
  • January 5, 2011: Submissions close
  • Mid-February, 2011: Finalists announced
  • Mid-March, 2011: Quick-pitch competition for finalists; winners chosen and announced

Learning Goals for Science and Mathematics:

The Science goals for entries should be focused around at least one of three themes:

  • Unifying concepts and processes in science (e.g., systems thinking, evolution, evidence, and measurement)
  • Science as inquiry (e.g., nature of science, skills necessary for inquiry)
  • Science in personal and social perspectives (e.g., personal health, characteristics in populations, types of resources, environments)

Submissions may take place in any area of science. For examples of content areas, entrants are encouraged to refer to the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996).

Alternatively, Math entries should address the Common Core Standards for grades K-4, currently adopted by at least 35 states.

Each of the submissions should emphasize the effective use of technology and/or engineering skills to promote content learning and inquiry that is age appropriate.

Related posts:

  1. Pearson, Intel Capital and Ascend Venture Group Invest in Innovative Educational Game Designer, Tabula Digita
  2. Disney Research SIGGRAPH 2010 Learning Challenge – Entry Deadline June 7
  3. Time to Vote – National STEM Video Game Challenge
  4. The Global Education Challenge $250k in Prizes – Enter by July 15 #edchallenge
  5. Top 50 Free STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) Online #EdTech

Category: Design, Extended Learning, Higher Education, K-12, Pre-K

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