We recently welcomed Year 8 students from Preston High School to participate in STEM Arcade – a program where students create playable, arcade-style games using a block-coding platform.
The students were challenged to develop a game to help primary-aged students learn about a STEM concept. To achieve this, the students collected facts on various STEM topics such as gravity and species, which formed the basis of their games.
Next, the students explored the various game mechanics available on the block-coding platform, Makecode Arcade. They then brainstormed ways to transform their chosen STEM topic into a playable game for their target audience.
Finally, during “build time,” students were able to develop, test, and troubleshoot their games. The program concluded with a whole-class “game jam” where students played and provided feedback on each other’s games.
Beyond teaching coding, STEM Arcade also promotes the development of STEM communication skills, as students must explain STEM concepts in a game format suitable for primary schoolers. Additionally, it fosters problem-solving skills and creativity, as students learn to debug their own code and come up with their own unique designs.
Triny, a teacher from Preston High School, appreciated the STEM-themed program, saying:
“I love that it’s STEM-themed because I’m a science teacher, so it’s a good crossover. We teach block coding at school as well, but it’s great having facilitators to problem solve with the students and understand how to fix the code when it breaks.”
Ruby, a Preston High School student, shared her experience of overcoming challenges while building her game:
“Even though we had roadblocks, the thing that helped me was to look at what I had already achieved in the game… it helped me to reflect on what I had already done.”
We extend our gratitude to Preston High School staff and students for their enthusiastic participation in our STEM Arcade program and for sharing their valuable insights with us!